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Virtual Reality Glasses: How Did the Virtual World Begin

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Written by Ahmet Tuna Balci


Virtual Reality is a 3D perception of reality called the creation of a physical atmosphere online as if you were living in the real world, but the actual existence of this environment while you are in this environment, thanks to tools with high technological equipment. So in the real world, you get to know an abstract and online world.


Virtual reality, which has become a source of entertainment that is used everywhere today, is seen as one of the biggest technologies of recent years. People of all ages, all over the world, are now using virtual reality as a means of entertainment. They do this with "virtual reality glasses" which have high technological hardware, as we mentioned. Now, it can detect not only the glasses but also the movements of the human body to the smallest detail, and by connecting with the parts of the body that move and provide mental controls during virtual reality, it transforms the user's movements into sensitivity controls as if they are in a tangible world, and makes the user feel the "reality" feeling again, thus making the user feel realistic while developing game controls.


With the development of technological opportunities, especially thanks to new tools with very important high-level graphics for the entertainment and game sector, the earnings ratios of large companies that produce, market, or finance such products have become very high, and for this reason, many large companies sponsor to companies that produce these games. However, as we mentioned, virtual reality has added a new dimension to the developing game industry due to its similarity to real life. So, what kind of stages did this important product goes through before it exploded to such an extent that it became its best form and popular with today's technology? Now we will be reading about the historical development of VR.


In a story (Pygmalion's Spectacles) written by science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum in the 1930s, when virtual reality first appeared as glasses, is the idea of ​​a pair of glasses that allow the wearer to experience a fictional world through holographic, smell, taste, and touch. When examined, its similarity with state-of-the-art virtual reality glasses makes this prediction of Weinbaum magnificent.


In the 1950s, cinematographer Morton Heilig developed the Sensorama, an arcade-like theater cabinet that activates many senses at once, which he patented in 1962. Heilig used simple yet well-integrated devices to trigger the senses. Then again, sound director Morton Heilig made another invention called a Telesphere Mask, which was patented in 1960. This invention, especially for the film environment, was better than the previous one in terms of its higher field of view, less area, and more efficient use of 3D technology.


Headsight is developed by two engineers (Comeau and Bryan) in 1961 and it's also known as the forerunner of the HMD (Helmet Mounted Display) we know today. In this model, circuits and laws of physics were more visible, but these glasses were slightly different and used more by soldiers to obtain information. Despite today's glasses, they did not have a virtual image, but it was an evolving model.


In 1965, Ivan Sutherland defined his concept called "The Final Impression." Its concept included some needs of society to open the doors of a more advanced invention, and in this way, a new invention was formed.


After these few important developments at the beginning, many professors, scientists, academics, and even people from many different professions, inspired by each other for years, carried out important works to achieve the most modern state by following the same path until the 90s. In this direction, the product has become very important in many other areas such as usage areas, features or suitability conditions, accessibility, and popularity. With the progress of these studies, these individual efforts became institutionalized in the 90s. In other words, companies or factories have started to step in[2].


In 1990, Jonathan Waldern exhibited Virtuality, a VR arcade machine, at the Computer Graphics 90 exhibition in London.


In 1991, Antonio Medina, a NASA scientist, designed a VR system to drive Mars robot rovers from Earth in pseudo-real time. This system is called "Computer Simulated Teleoperation."


Virtuality Group launched Virtuality. These were VR arcade machines that players could play in the 3D game world. This was the first mass-produced VR entertainment system. Some machines can be linked together for multiplayer games. Eventually, some very popular arcade games like Pac-Man have VR versions


In 1995, Nintendo has released the Virtual Boy console that plays 3D video games. It was the first portable console to display 3D graphics. However, it was a commercial failure due to:

-Lack of color graphics,

-Lack of software support,

-And not being comfortable using.


Google introduced Street View, which is an important app in 2007, and developed stereoscopic 3D mode for this app thanks to a teenager in 2010.


In 2014, Facebook bought the Oculus VR company for $2 billion. This was a defining moment in VR's history because VR gained momentum rapidly after this.


Sony announced that they were working on Project Morpheus, a VR headset for the PlayStation 4 (PS4).


Then, between 2015-2021, large companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Facebook, and Ryot made a very important performance in VR and earned huge incomes. Over this time VR has evolved further and then the result of all these different models has been the latest in the past 60 years[1].



References:
  1. Barnard, D. (2022, October 6). History of VR - timeline of events and Tech Development. VirtualSpeech. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://virtualspeech.com/blog/history-of-vr

  2. History of virtual reality. Virtual Reality Society. (2020, January 2). Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/history.html#:~:text=In%201968%20in%20 Sutherland%20and,ceiling%20(hence%20its%20name).

  3. Nsocial. (n.d.). Sanal Gerçeklik Nedir? VR NEDIR? Sanal Gerçeklik Nedir? | VR Nedir? Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.nsocialtr.com/sanal-gerceklik-nedir-vr-nedir.html#:~:text=Tarihte%20ilk%201962'de%20Morton,olu%C5%9Fan%2C%20sanal%20ger%C3%A7eklik%20teknolojisinin%20deneyimi


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