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What is virtual reality and how does it work?

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Mar 27, 2024• Proven solutions

Virtual Reality is becoming a very in demand concept and with so many new devices and cameras that have come out showcasing this technology, it can be easy to feel left behind. Because VR is still relatively new it may not even be something that you have experienced yet. In this article we will explain what VR technology is and the types of applications it can have for the future.

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What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality can be considered an extremely immersive experience that you can enjoy safely and simulate something real. By using a Virtual Reality headset or applicable application, you can enter into special simulations. These simulations are designed to be extremely immersive experiences which the user can interact with and explore. The viewer controls the environment and has the power to look around at any scene as well as potentially interact with the objects in the scene.

Virtual Reality usually take place in computer-generated simulations in which an entire 3-D environment is rendered in the closest thing to a simulation. A person can then use a variety of electronic equipment to interact with the scene and control the environment.

Overall, virtual reality means creating a simulation of a real world experience that a person can enter and leave at any time using technology. As VR continues to develop, we will only see these simulations getting more in-depth and real. The technology also continues to miniaturize and grow cheaper, bringing VR to a position where almost anyone could have the chance to try it.

How does VR work?

The basis of a really good VR experience however comes with a headset.

A VR headset is a head-mounted display (HMD) that blocks out the outside world and displays a 3-D world or stitched images to create a simulation for the user. VR headsets block out the outside world and present a whole new view for the user. In many cases the screen is set to focus to fill our entire peripheral vision and to block out the outside world. When you put on a professional series VR headset, you should feel like you are in the scene and interacting with it.

The process of starting up a VR simulation begins with putting on this headset. Users will usually start up the application or have someone get the game or application going on a PC or console. The VR headset is then plugged in and the user can switch their view over to the headset to immerse themselves in the experience. Once the headset is placed on the user's head and adjusted to fill their peripheral vision, they can use the motion controls to control the experience on screen or their own body movement to move around the scene. As the user looks around, motion controls in the headset will control the scene as it pans across the screen. As long as the user keeps the headset on, the scene will continue to move and interact with them as they move their head or use the controllers to look around and interact.

VR technology continues to improve with immersion as well. New headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR system are available for use in almost anyone's home. The Oculus Rift is heralded as one of the premier systems for home use and the Samsung Gear VR works with the latest Samsung Galaxy smart phones to turn any smart phone screen into a VR experience. As more competitors continue to develop products it will be interesting to see just how the market evolves and the types of products that are available to users in the near future.

The main features of VR systems include:

  • Immersion

The goal of any VR system is to completely immerse the user in a new simulation environment. This means filling their peripheral vision using the visor, introducing sound canceling surroundsound headphones which can put them into the scene and giving them control over the scene with their head movements. At the very least introducing these three levels of control can create an immersive experience. Adding in new interaction features can be even more powerful.

  • Interaction

In many films and games, app creators are working at creating more immersive experiences. Using a specialty controller in the new Playstation VR for example can help users to interact with the scene and control elements. Having the ability to pick up objects in the scene or even interact with characters can improve immersion even further and add to the value of VR simulations.

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Benjamin Arango
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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Benjamin Arango

staff Editor