January 12, 2016

What is Virtual Reality?

vir·tu·al
/ˈvərCH(əw)əl/
not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so.

re·al·i·ty
/rēˈalədē/
the state or quality of having existence or substance.

 

Virtual reality has been notoriously difficult to define over the years. Many people take “virtual” to mean fake or unreal, and “reality” to refer to the real world. This results in an oxymoron. The actual definition of virtual, however, is “to have the effect of being such without actually being such”. The definition of “reality” is “the property of being real”, and one of the definitions of “real” is “to have concrete existence”. Using these definitions “virtual reality” means “to have the effect of concrete existence without actually having concrete existence”, which is exactly the effect achieved in a good virtual reality system.
 

Virtual reality is the use of computer technology to create the effect of an interactive three-dimensional world in which the objects have a sense of spatial presence.

 
In this definition, “spatial presence” means that the objects in the environment effectively have a location in three-dimensional space relative to and independent of your position. Note that this is an effect, not an illusion. The basic idea is to present the correct cues to your perceptual and cognitive system so that your brain interprets those cues as objects “out there” in the three-dimensional world.

The virtual reality technology has become more widespread and cheaper so people can expect to witness more innovative and functional uses for this technology in the near future and probably, fundamental ways where people can work and communicate to virtual reality possibilities.

What are 360° Videos?
360 degree videos are created through the use of an exclusive camera system which simultaneously records scenes in full 360 degrees. a 360 degree video can be created from multiple cameras and then stitched into a spherical video, allowing viewers the ability to rotate and pan a 360 video’s perspective from different angles. Facebook and Youtube are two of the biggest platforms for 360 degree viewing at the moment.

360° Videos on Computers
When watching these videos on computers, viewing angles are changed by means of dragging with the computer mouse. Make sure to use the latest version of web browser.

360° Degree Videos on Mobile and Android Devices
On Android mobile devices and on iOS, viewing angles of 360 degree videos can be done by dragging the finger across the screen or by means of navigating with the device’s built in gyroscope. Viewing through this can give the sense of looking through a window, and with the aid of a Google Cardboard headset, give a feeling of immersion for the user.


Sources:
1. Virtual Reality: Definition and Requirements (https://www.nas.nasa.gov/Software/VWT/vr.html)