WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?


What comes to your mind when you think of virtual reality? If it is a clunky helmet connected to a laptop or desktop with the support of a thick wire, then you couldn’t be more wrong. The meaning of “virtual reality” is expressed in the name itself.” Virtual” means near and “reality” means the true experiences that we gain as human beings. So as a combination of these terms, we define virtual reality as “the near experiences that we receive.”

When we were young, we learned that we get to know the world with support of our 5 senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. But surprisingly, human beings have 21 senses so far identified. Each of these senses respond according to the sensory inputs, with the support of brain for a rich flow of information. Virtual reality means creating a simulated world by presenting our senses with the help of computer technology.

Technically, we can express this term as the computer generated 3D environment, where the user can interact, explore and experience directly. For example, we can say rather than a person using a traditional user interface, the virtual reality lets the user experience by immersing them to interact with the 3D world (by simulating the senses as much as possible). Here, the computer is acting as a gatekeeper to this artificial world.


Human beings react faster to the audio clues than visual clues. To experience a strong virtual reality experience, accurate environmental sounds should be used along with spatial characteristics. To experience these binaural audio details, the user should put on a headphone. Currently, the audio- visual information feed is successfully implemented. However, there are many researches and developments are being conducted regarding the other senses.

Video game industry is leading in virtual reality field, where user interface is adjusted for virtual reality. Accordingly, industries have been quickly adapted to the hardware requirements along with this technology, which is now widely available. Omnidirectional treadmills, which use tactile inputs to allow the users walk through the simulation, rather than letting the user sit on a chair sticking to one place, are now available Virtual reality is used to create an illusion of reality through our senses. Nowadays even smartphones are available with virtual reality which uses a shell with special lens. It creates an immersive experience along with very expensive hardware.

Virtual reality has been an attractive alternative in many fields, such as aviation, medicine and the military. This is because rather than training with sensitive technologies, dangerous situations and expensive equipment, virtual reality provides a real time training prevailing from all the above mentioned situations. Pilots can use realistic cockpits and hostile training programs with live instructions incorporating with virtual reality technology. Police officers and soldiers can conduct their training sessions without putting lives in risks. Also, surgeons can train with virtual patients and tools, where they can convert their room into an operating theater. Studies and researches are going on regarding the improvement these sessions and trainings, in order to lead the doctors to make fewer mistakes. Whenever or wherever you find something to be expensive, impractical and dangerous to do in real world, you can go with the virtual reality to experience that situation.


A virtual environment should provide appropriate responses according to the situation. For example, when a user tires, there a problem can rise due to the delay of between the systems response and the user’s actions, which can interrupt the user experience. Then the user become aware that they are dealing with an artificial environment and the user tend to adjust their behavior accordingly.

It is now possible to hear and feel true-to-life sensations along with Virtual reality, which is created with the help of using the human senses along with the experiences of the real environment. This technology lead users to find more realistic and real time solutions for complex technological and real world issues in a less expensive and in a more attractive way. We can expect more innovative, advanced and fast innovations with this technology to make our lives fast and smart.  

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  1. This article was sent in by Raj Malar. She is an undergraduate in Software engineering at NSBM. You can reach her at LinkedIn or Facebook

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