How and when mankind entered the world of virtual reality

In fact; the technology of virtual reality (Virtual Reality) is not born of recent years, but is one of the ancient techniques which date back to tens of years in the last century, the concept in general appeared before the advent of the internet and mobile phones, but because of the lack of them in the memory of the time; didn’t turn this concept into a good easy-to-use and acquisition.

Today anyone can buy a system of virtual reality for less than $ 10, and if he wanted better quality from a well-known company, it has cost his then 30 to $ 50 only, and one of the reasons this cheap price is that these glasses or helmet is not a stand alone, but should you often use your smartphone with it, that’s the phone that has young and Old, the other reason is the ease of access to the custom content for those glasses (photos and videos with the angle of 360 degrees).

The first device to virtual reality

Can we say that the world has entered the real world, the assumption of the door of the cinema, where the device labeled “sensors” or “Sensorama” from the early attempts of humans to enter into the world of virtual reality, it was the idea of the “Morton Heilig,” which research paper is published in 1955 in the name of “Cinema of the Future” or “cinema of the future”, then the crystallization of his idea in the device that developed after that which bore the name “ensure” and patented in 1962.

It was intended for your sensors to be developed more than necessary, it is not only the transfer of image and sound, but he wanted to save the smell and the ambience too, in addition to the war issued by the chair that brings you the viewer, has released the device with 5 short films a person can choose from to watch, the following video clip is a rare interview conducted with the maker of the device in the beginning of the eighties of the last century:

But, it is surprising that this device wasn’t the only one who thought Morton, but no patent was registered in 1960 talking about the device in the name of “Telesphere Mask,” which looks a lot like virtual reality glasses on the market today, the following image taken from the registration page of a patent (source: Google Patents).

(Click here to read the article that highlight the achievements of Morton in this field).

Although the patent Morton has represented the design of the first system of virtual reality, however, prevails that the first system of virtual reality actually is that carried the name “The Sword of Damocles” which began development in 1966 by the world, “Ivan Sutherland” and one of his students in the laboratories of MIT.

Device View-Master memories of the beautiful time

If you’re from a generation of good people, surely you remember that little device -which I got as a gift in most cases – which, look through it contained different pictures and then think you was amazed and thrilled because you see the scene like you’re immersed in it, yes … it is a View-Master

This device (or game if you will) appeared in 1939, i.e., before the device ensures many years, which is still available in the markets to this day (Edition developer), and it expressed the human desire to see the image at full size, to see image like submerged, but technical Anne’s memory didn’t serve me in moving the head and viewing of images from all angles.

In the stories of writers and novelists

But prior to those attempts and initial ideas, the minds of the authors, especially of they write science fiction stories, has indicated that virtual reality and virtual reality without the mention of this term, for example; safety, the story of “The Man Who Awoke”, which began publication in 1933 was talking about the people they were calling with kettle in order to change all of their senses (including the system) and thus experience life through another reality of their choice, this is the idea of virtual reality concept by the general public.

The dream of the human that comes out of the reality of his boring -and sometimes dismal – it was the cinema screen by the big sounds and high one of the practical ways to get out of the valley and access to the virtual reality of the figment of imagination of the writers and directors, and in the fact of the matter is that even digital games in the contemporary day is one of the means of immersion in virtual reality, reality from fantasy falls where the esophagus goes on around him, but keep the Visual sense is the primary criterion in the definition of virtual reality, the lack of seeing anything else and take a full page or Scene, are the main factors to determine the identity of the virtual reality.

Virtual reality after 1970

After that, during the period of the seventies started this technique and the devices supporting do not wait, but on a very small scale, it has been used in military and medical fields and some other fields, while they didn’t wind up in the hands of the consumer.

One of the highlights in the history of virtual reality, is accomplished by the coefficient of MIT in 1979 and interactive map of the city of Aspen of America, is a device that has a screen like TV, you view the streets of the city with the possibility for the viewer to choose the direction and control of traffic and the angle of the display, somewhat similar to the service (Street View) offered by Google through its maps, the following video contains a demo of this device:

Games and virtual reality

It is true that the concept of virtual reality has entered the human door the movie, but with the revolution of Electronic Games in the seventies and early eighties, there were some gaming companies at the time of change in this technology for the production of a new generation of games might attract them more customers, he founded the company “Atari” lab research on this area in 1982, but closed after two years due to the collapse of the gaming market world in that time.

First appearance of the term Virtual Reality

Emerge the actual term (virtual reality) and start work in the manufacture and sale of its products was the mid-eighties, and it was by someone called “Giron Linda” -who some consider the godfather of virtual reality – which he founded the company “VPL Research” and began the development and manufacture of some virtual reality devices such as gloves, carrier data, which have been subsequently sold by the company “Mattel” at the price of $ 75.

One of the forerunners of virtual reality technology is “Nicole will“, which played between 1989 and 1992 produced the first movie follows the style of immersion “immersive movie” in the name of “Angels” which is the first film to virtual reality to the concept known today, the Union of the image with images as well as multi-touch (cross gloves related) for making the experience new and fun experiences of virtual reality, video following know part of that movie.

In the early nineties was the term “virtual reality” has begun to take the echo and proliferation became the world’s talking about him being the next revolution that will move humanity to a new stage -or so some thought-and the following report dating back to 1991 (by source) which talks about this technique which also shows that the world has started ceremoniously by:

In that period (the nineties) was a corporate giant -from gaming companies – is heading strongly towards the production of the tools of virtual reality to move the games to a new stage, has been among those companies need launched device that we named “Virtual Boy” which was launched in markets at a price of $ 180, it displays three-dimensional images but in red and black only, and because of the price and poor app support, failed to continue and stopped the company from production after a short period.

Other devices several launched in that period, and many tried to compete in this field, was among the competitors device “Forte VFX1”, which was launched in 1995 at a price of around $ 600, which is a helmet a custom header for games introduction professionally according to the metrics of that period, you can learn more about them through this report the source in YouTube.

The disappearance and then the return

As said Bill gross in his lecture delivered cross-platform TED, that the most important factor for the success of startups which come up with new ideas, is that ideas come in time, the time when the world is receptive to embrace those ideas and then non-proliferation and achieve success, so the instruments are virtual reality devices that appeared in the Decade of the nineties was not timely at that time, the world was not yet ready for this new concept, this may explain the failure of many of the products and then the disappearance of the term “virtual reality” for many years.

Some say that the second return and spread wider to offer virtual reality to have started when the “Palmer luckey” the design of the first prototype helmet head then launch a crowdfunding campaign through the Kickstarter platform, it’s “Oculus Rift“, which won funding exceeded $ 2 billion across the region, and grounding the owner of the company which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 and ….. Boom, the bubble burst “virtual reality” and then we came to what we are today.

Sources and references:

  • Virtual reality in Wikipedia
  • An oral history of VR
  • Virtual reality applications in mental health
  • The history of virtual reality
  • The History of Virtual Reality: The Ultimate Guide. Part 1

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