So what is the history
of virtual reality? Well we can say that the concept of virtual reality has
been around for a long time. All the way back to religious begging’s. Some may
even say that virtual reality is most commonly found in religion. In the book “INFINITE REALITY” Bailenson and
Blasocovich (2012) say that “many (religions) promote stories about the
afterlife. These stores teach the faithful that what they assume is grounded
reality-the physical world around them-is really only temporary virtual world
that will fall away after death (Bailenson and Blasocovich, p.22-23)”. Kind of
how Christians believe in heaven and how in Judaism many believe they will be
resurrected into the real world.
But if we are looking
for a more modern take on virtual reality we would start in the early 1800’s
with a paint style called “Panoramic paintings”. So what are these and how do
they relate to virtual reality. Well these paintings were made to fill a
person’s field of vision, making them feel like they are at the historical
event, scene, or battle they are looking at. (“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).
From these painting we
jump to 1838 with stereoscope and then the view master in 1839. The stereoscope
is a device that showed two side by side images or photos that gave the person using
the steroscope a sense of immersion. The stereoscope was created by Charles
Wheatstone, but then one year later William Gruber approved upon the idea of
the stereoscope by making the view master. The view master was used for virtual
tourism. You know showing different pictures from around the world and giving
the user a since of being in the place they are being shown. The design principles of the Stereoscope are
still used today. For example they are used for Google Cardboard which we
talked about earlier. (“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).
From there we jump all
the way to 1929, almost 100 years later with what is called the “Link Trainer”.
The link trainer was created by Edward Link and it is consisted to be the first
flight simulator and it was entirely electromechanical. The link trainer was
used to train pilots in world war two and improved the skills of those who
already know how to fly. (“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).
Then we jump to the
1950’s with the Sensorama created by cinematographer Morton Heilig. The
sensorama was an arcade-style theatre cabinet that would stimulate all your
senses (hits the name sensorama). It featured stereo speakers, a stereoscopic
3D display, fans, smell generators and a vibrating chair. It was intended to
fully immerse a person (“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).
Next we jump to 1960
with the first VR head mounted display called the Telesphere Mask .Which
was created by the same guy that created the sensorama, Morton Heilig.
The headset provided stereoscopic 3D and wide
vision with stereo sound. (“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).
Now we jump one year
later in 1961 with the Headsight. The headsight was the first head mounted
display with motion tracking. The headsight used a video screen for each eye
and a magnetic motion tracking system. The system was linked to a closed
circuit camera. The headsight was used as a way for people to for view
dangerous situations related to the military. Head movements would move a
remote camera, allowing the user to naturally look around the environment. (“History
Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).
Next we jump a few
years later to 1968. In that year the device known as the Sword of Damocles was
created. The sword of Damocles was the first VR / AR head mounted display that
was connected to a computer and not a camera. The thing is that it was way too
heavy for someone to wear comfortably, so it was hung from the ceiling.
(“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2015).
Next we jump nearly 20
years to 1987 where the term virtual reality was finally coined. Because before
this, there was no official term for this type of technology. The term was
coined by Jaron Lanier, the founder of the visual programming lab. There they
made a bunch of different virtual reality related gear. (“History Of Virtual
Now we jump to 1991 where
the public started to be able to go out and experience virtual reality for
themselves. In 1991 they had released “Virtuality Group Arcade Machines”.
Players would put on virtual reality goggles and play on gaming machines with stereoscopic
3D visuals. Some arcade machines were also connected together for players to be
able to play with each other. (“History Of Virtual Reality”, 2017).