Why is nearly everyone obsessed over virtual reality, what's the big deal? Well, let's find out. But before we do, let's go over a brief history of the world of VR.
Contrary to popular belief, VR has been a thing since before the 21st century. In the 1960's a computer-scientist by the name of Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull took part in the creation of what is widely believed to be the first VR headset ever made. Although 1968 is when the first VR headset was created, the ideas of VR date back to the early 19th century. It is documented that the first stereoscope ever created was made in 1838 and it used twin mirrors to project a single image. So, if you weren't aware VR has been a thing for that long, now you are. But now it's time to talk about more modern VR headsets, i'm talking about the ones you use with consoles or PC's to game and they don't weigh 25 pounds.
The first company to get VR headsets to the mainstream was a firm called "Virtuality". They released their VR headsets in 1991 and they were called 1000CS and 1000SD series. Later that decade in 1993, Sega hopped on the bandwagon and successfully released a VR headset for the Sega Genesis. Oh wait, it wasn't too successful after all. I recommend you to this article (https://www.designnews.com/electronics-test/story-sega-vr-segas-failed-virtual-reality-headset/74451237860349) if you want to know more about Sega's failed VR headset. After the headsets Virtuality were producing become less common, so did discussion about virtual reality in general. It wasn't until around 2010 that companies like Vive, Oculus, and Sony started making VR headsets that would be accessible to almost everyone in North America and Europe. Since then, these companies have been making rapid improvements, and as of now, it may not be long until we have photorealistic VR games and experiences.
The reason why almost everyone has been talking about VR in these last few years is because us humans want to overcome boredom. It's the same reason why video games were created. They serve as outlets for people who are bored and want to escape the real world for a bit. But VR takes this one step further, and this is because the border between what's real and what's not starts to become unclear. This same thing is true to a certain extent for motion controllers in games as well. Think of Wii bowling. It was so fun because you actually somewhat felt like you were bowling and you could just play with your friends, but you did not have to go anywhere. It was awesome. The reason why people eventually got bored of it, is because if you don't have friends to play with, then the experience dies down a lot. That's because without friends, it's just you swinging a controller at a screen, hoping to get a strike. But now with VR, even without friends, the experiences you have can be absolutely amazing. Not only do the newer VR headsets track hand movement and body movement, but they also have amazing dual lens with displays supporting up to 4K.
The First Commercial VR Devices – The EyePhone Head-Mounted Displays. In the late 1960s, the virtual and augmented reality terms were coined, describing the field of technology we know today. This also encompassed the appearance of two of the very first commercial virtual reality devices in the 1980s in the face of the EyePhone 1 and the EyePhone HRX. Developed by VPL research, a company by Jaron Lanier, the devices were extremely expensive, costing as much as $9,400 for the 1 version and $49,000 for the HRX. Customers could also buy gloves that costed $9,000. While the devices didn’t really take off, which is understanding, having in mind their price, they were a major step forward in the development of virtual reality haptics and virtual reality goggles and head-mounted displays.
Another reason why people are so obsessed over VR is the price tag on the headsets. They're almost all under 1 thousand USD. To have this kind of technology readily available in tech stores for that price, is quite astonishing if you think about it. The median household income in the USA is around 60 thousand a year. That means there are millions of people who could afford VR headsets. Imagine almost everyone in North America and Europe having a VR headset. Think of the potential for VR MMORPGS. Think of how many more people would be motivated to exercise by fitness games. These are the reasons why people are obsessed with VR.
While no one really knows the future of VR technology, we can still make some predictions. Many people believe that the companies that are developing the VR headsets will soon start making smart glasses and other standalone technologies. So, imagine Google Glass on steroids. Imagine a world where everyone walking around is seeing some fantasy world. Even if it's not just VR in the future, AR will still be there to make daily life spicier and more interesting. Maybe people will have HUDS in the future. Health bars, hunger bars, thirst bars, etc. Although these are all predictions and some even a bit far fetched, these could all be possible for the world of VR and AR in the future.
As with every creation in the universe, there has to be a humble beginning for everything and VR technology was no exception. Although it’s hard to pinpoint the father of this amazing technology, history suggests that it could have been the innovation of not one but five key individuals. First, Morton Heilig for giving users the very first interactive film experience which can be take the credit as the beginning of 3D content. Then, there’s Jaron Lanier, the first person to credit the term “Virtual Reality”; Douglas Engelbart, who invented the computer mouse and laid the foundation for the modern user interface; Ivan Sutherland, inventor of the first head mounted display (HMD); and Myron Krueger, a computer graphics and audio wiz.
If you want a full blog post about Segas Failed VR Headset or the Future of VR, let us know in the comments of this post.