What is virtual reality?
“Virtual reality” tends to involve more of the virtual than the real, as the name suggests. The term describes a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that a person can explore and interact with. There are a range of systems that can be used to achieve a sense of virtual reality, from headsets, to headphones, gloves, and even omni-directional treadmills.
It’s the most immersive type of reality technology and essentially makes it possible to experience anything, anywhere, at any time by convincing the human brain that it’s somewhere else. But, there’s also a sliding scale of virtual reality made up of three different types:
The least immersive, as they only stimulate a subset of a user’s senses. This can allow for peripheral awareness of reality outside of the simulation. Users are able to enter into a three-dimensional virtual environment through a portal or window, which is usually a high-resolution screen or monitor.
providing a more immersive experience, where the user is partly immersed in a virtual environment. These simulations tend to comprise of a relatively high-performance graphics computing system and a large screen monitor, large screen projector system, or multiple television screen projection systems. This technology can help users to feel like they’re in a different environment, but they’ll also be aware of the world outside of the simulation.
providing the most immersive version of virtual reality. This is where hardware such as head-mounted displays and motion-detecting devices are used to stimulate as many of a user’s senses as possible. This means someone using this technology will feel like they’re somewhere completely different to where they actually are.
There are a whole host of applications for virtual reality and, while gaming is perhaps the most well-known, the technology’s potential doesn’t end there. For example, both the UK and US military now use virtual reality as part of their training, because it allows members to be put in various situations that would be difficult or even impossible to safely replicate in real life. It’s also revolutionising the sports industry for both players and viewers, and has even been used in schools to take students on virtual trips.
Here at Luminous, we specialise in virtual reality training for commercial, enterprise, and industrial applications. You can learn more about this by reading our guide to the benefits of VR training in the workplace.