GS Paper 3: Technology – Awareness in the fields of IT, space, robotics, nano technology and bio technology.
Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound. The simplest form of virtual reality is a 3-D image that can be explored interactively at a personal computer, usually by manipulating keys or the mouse so that the content of the image moves in some direction or zooms in or out. More sophisticated efforts involve such approaches as wrap-around display screens, actual rooms augmented with wearable computers, and haptics devices that let you feel the display images.
Depth of information and Breadth of information: The depth of information is mainly the richness of the input data a user receives. It is the quality of display graphics, resolution, and sophistication of audio quality and complexity of the induced environment. The breadth of information, on the other hand, refers to the number of senses the stimulation engages. It can be a combination of auditory, visual, haptic, olfactory or all of these together, higher the breadth of information, richer the experience.
Latency: You are standing on a railway platform, waiting for a train. Suddenly, you feel your nose tingle as you sharply inhale a sudden gust of cold wind. You cast your eyes towards the sky, looking for an oncoming storm, but only see a vast blanket of gray clouds, looming eerily. You’re able to hear the faint hiss of a guzzling engine in the distance as a shrill whistle rams itself against your eardrums, and you look towards your left, at the oncoming Soviet-era train, billowing puffs of smoke into the dark clouds. Well technically as the train approaches you, thanks to the Doppler Effect, you should be able to notice a shift in its sound patterns. Those two things, the movement of the train towards you and its sound should together create a realistic effect. Change of sound and vision perspective according to the user’s position in the environment is vital to creating an immersive illusion. If there is a delay in what the user sees and feels, this illusion crumbles, and the user becomes aware of being in a VRE. Such a “lag” or “delay” in the action by the user and time of reflection of by the environment is known as LATENCY. Studies have found that humans can detect latency of 50 milliseconds.
Existing VR technologies: The first VR device ever built was designed by Morton Heilig, a cinematographer by profession. He built a machine called Sensoroma which successfully encompassed all the senses of the user in an effective manner. Going by the standards of that era, it was a very compact machine; intuitively built to create an immersion experience.
The cave is a result of a brilliantly simple concept. The idea is to create an immersive virtual environment by projecting images on the walls of a room. The user wears a pair of 3D glasses attached with sensors. These glasses help the computer track the person’s movement and change the projections displayed on the walls accordingly. Setting up a CAVE is expensive as it requires high definition projectors and screens. Also, it can be used by only one person at a time.
This is a direct ancestor to HMD. The human brain perceives depth only because it has two eyes for visual input. Each eye sees a slightly different angle of the same scene. These two separate views are combined in the brain to form a single, 3D image, with parts of the data from each eye used to work out relative distances. This is where BOOM comes in the scene. It consists of a 3D display that swivels freely suspended from a weighted bottom. It’s usually attached to a trolley or the ceiling.
Advantages of VR
Disadvantages of VR
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