The Long Journey to The History of Virtual Reality
Finding out who coined virtual reality (VR) for the very first time seems to be an endless and ceaseless attempt. There is no exact proof or evidence that leads to certainty. Talking about history of virtual reality, the only thing we know for certain is that the idea of VR has already arisen from decades ago, even when there exist some confusion as to the concept of VR as we know it today and the one which deals with those stories. VR itself is an ever evolving technology and one that will continue to capture our imagination in the foreseeable future. The important thing is that VR, as presumed in history or we already know, handles the enhancement of visual sense.
Even the term VR as we understand it today is not mentioned vision enhancement attempts happened and served as clues that we can track as the remaining puzzle of the history of virtual reality. It approximately occurred in the 19th century in the form of panoramic paintings which offered the experience of seeing a scenery from every angle and marked the beginning of VR. There were numerous cases which marked and contributed to today’s virtual reality meaning. To make it more fun, let us see the evolvement of VR in a timeline consisting of VR’s most significant marks and discoveries starting from the 19th century up to the present day.
The idea of enhancing our visual sense to make us present in certain events is the suggestion that offers the possibility of the VR invention. This idea has emerged since long ago as the panoramic paintings of historical occasions such as war, feast, landscape has been found. As we can conclude, panoramic painting was the dawn of VR we know today regarding its idea of intentionally making event documentation more “alive”.
The practice of involving visual sense entered a new stage in this period as real-environment simulator emerged. This lead is marked by the innovation of vehicle training device in the form of a flight simulator that allowed the user to experience a simulated reality before trying a real plane. Edwin Link was way ahead of the competition as his invention called the Blue Box or more commonly known as Link Trainer was patented. His work was regarded as an advanced technology that becomes one of marks of long VR historical journey.
The hero of this decade came as Stanley Weinbaum, a science fiction writer who came up with the idea of a device which could take the user into fictional reality in his work entitled Pygmalion’s Spectacles. This idea is a testament to human?s ability to imagine the alternate realities that can be entered and summoned through certain device. It is fair to conclude that the concept of virtual reality would not go far as we know today if had Weinbaum not written down his idea.
We should thank the vision of a man who found it dull seeing theater from one-sided view of the show. It then led to the invention of the sensational Sensorama as the benchmark of this period of time in long historical journey of Virtual reality. It was Morton Heilig whose saved the entire planet from dullness of watching performance in flat-styled angle. He then constructed the Sensorama machine and succeeded to make it as one of the most important discoveries in the field of VR. Sensorama is recognized as a spacious machine which looks like a booth that allows one user to sit and put his or her head to the machine’s screens. The screens project the output in tight angle and distance along with sounds and smells so the user will be treated as he or she goes to places. This machine is assumed as the basic concept of other VR devices. Rumor has it that this very first mechanical VR device still functions up until now.
During this era, more advanced technologies were being developed and entering new stages of VR’s essential evolvement involving Morton Heilig, Ivan Sutherland, Bob Sproull, and Myron Kruegere as the leading figures. Therefore, the important thing of this era is the advancing machine marked by the introduction of head mounted device (HMD) as the representation of VR’s most recognizable device. The device was also known as VR Goggles or VR Headset, this gear put VR evolvement into the peak of its existence. Same way of its predecessor feature, VR headset offers clear imaging in 3D, expanded, and extensive view, along with surrounding stereo sound system.
1990 – TODAY
As the headset device concept arose, it started to expand its features and was being applied in various field of entertainment and education such as virtual reality games and other educational virtual reality apps. Well-known games and apps developer got into line of synchronism of their products with VR system as the market is blowing in the recent years.