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Virtual Reality Essay

1674 words - 7 pages

Virtual Reality Virtual reality, is a computer-generated, multi-sensory human interface to computers. Virtual reality extends beyond the capability of typical workstation graphics in two ways. First, through the use of tracking sensors, the computer knows precisely the location and angle of the user's head, which enables the graphics scene to be generated in the correct perspective for each eye. Second, because a very wide-angle image is provided, which is updated 10 to 60 times a second and is often augmented with synthesized surround sound, motion, and even scent, a level of immersion in the simulated scene is achieved. Immersion, combined with correct perspective, allows the development ...view middle of the document...

The desktop model uses a standard workstation screen outfitted with stereo liquid crystal display (LCD) shutter glasses synchronized with the screen so that each eye's view, drawn in correct perspective, is presented to that eye only. The disadvantage is a limited field of view, but this can be partially overcome by using a much larger projection screen in front of the user, the goal being to get the edges of the screen out of view. (Warrick) The CAVE is a room 3 by 3 by 3 meters (10 by 10 by 10 feet) constructed of at least two walls and a floor made of projection screens. It has a very wide field of view and high resolution and provides a rather complete feeling of immersion. Since the CAVE is large and two to four times as expensive as the other models, it is not an office device. However, since it allows multiple participants at once (only one is tracked), the CAVE can be used in sales, teaching, and presentation contexts. (Benedickt) The field of virtual reality is in its infancy. Improvements in tracker accuracy and range, display resolution and cost, rendering hardware, real-time simulation software and networking, human interfacing techniques (for example, voice and gesture recognition), audio synthesis, and high-performance computing are needed to assure its use in manufacturing, education, science, and art. Virtual reality is the new frontier of the computer-human interface. Researchers in computer-imaging technology are developing systems by which users can experience a simulated three-dimensional reality. This simulated reality is known as virtual reality The termcyberspace has sometimes been used synonomously with VR but has by now gained its own meaning. (Gump) Since the 1970s, technologists have learned how to produce animated computer images of objects that exhibit the colors, textures, and changing spatial orientations that their counterparts exhibit in the real world. The images can also be subjected to changing light conditions and to simulated effects of gravity and other forces (see computer graphics; computer modeling). The results can look as real as actual motion pictures. The further aim of technologists is to make it possible for persons to "enter" and actually manipulate VR. (Gump) Thus far this is being achieved to a limited degree only by having an observer wear complex headgear through which computer images are fed to small screens in front of the eyes. At the same time, gloves or full suits that are equipped with networks of sensors are transmitting apparent changes of body orientation in VR. A simpler form of these VR techniques is seen in the flight simulators used for training military pilots. (Warrick) Besides its application in training systems, many other potentially practical uses of VR can be suggested. They range from the long-distance manipulation of robot devices to the retraining of stroke victims in the use of their limbs. Computer graphics is the use of computers to produce pictorial representations...

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