The movies like The Matrix are the best examples of virtual reality, in toto.If you’ve watched The Matrix, you can recollect how the characters like Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, and others dwell in a virtual space, semi-oblivious that they are part of an unreal world. The inhabitants experience tangibility of things all around, aware that whatever they come across; foods, clothes, people etc. are nothing but bits of data represented as (computer-generated) simulated reality!
Well, that’s the talk of movies. But can we say that we, the human, inhabit in virtual reality just like the movies?
Errrr…hard to say, huh?
David Humes, the famous Scottish philosopher believed that it’s perception, not reason that is the source of human knowledge. He emphatically favored the notion that desire governs human behavior over reason and therefore, it is the slave of the passion.
Interestingly, the human mind receives information through intangible means like taste, touch and smell, visual and then processes the information in a way what we know as a ‘perceived’ reality. Manifestation of intangible data into a perceived reality, to a larger extent, resembles with that of virtual reality, where an intangible world is just a perceived reality.
It is indeed debatable whether virtual reality is hallucination or illusion for someone who experiences it. But it can’t be gainsaid from the fact that virtual reality world is the amazing blend of natural world surroundings, so well simulated as to giving us the perception of a true reality.
How does virtual reality work?
What comes in your field of vision when you hear of virtual reality? A technocrat wearing a bizarre helmet with a thick cable attached to a computer? Do you feel irked by the vision of virtually designed pterodactyls? Or does the name, VR bring your memory back to The Matrix? Well, the answer could be anything, apart from the asked questions. No wonder if you come across the term, virtual environment, for virtual reality, because that’s the twin part of VR world.
Virtual reality world is a computer-simulated 3D world allowing users interact and manipulate the immersive world without feeling that they are not part of a real-world. Sometimes, the virtually created world appears to be far real than the natural world. Perhaps, it is because of this reason that we witness increasing popularity of VR with its unavoidable necessity in movies, ad agencies, and other commercial fields.
Immersion is one of the key parts that a VR world is identified with. An immersive world of VR means users can relate to it. He can meaningfully interact with the VR environment.
The immersion technology focuses on two key components: depth of information and breadth of information, both playing key roles to build up a perfect VR world.
Another VR world focuses on creating an environment, a digital environment in 3D setting. This part of the virtual world has simulated sensory in accordance with the immersed environment. However, it doesn’t mean that the users inside the VR world can feel the reality of virtually created hurricane, neither can he feel the aroma of a flower in the world.
That’s the bit of data simulated as reality.
The virtual environment in absence of interaction is of no use. It is, therefore, this reason that creating VR environment involves maintaining a concentrated focus on introducing an element of interaction to it. Also, since you can’t step into this artificial world physically, you need to have a display device like HMDs that will allow you see the VR world to interact it.
VR systems also require input devices such as treadmills, datagloves, joysticks and controller wands etc.
Does Virtual Reality World Matter To Us?
This is a loaded question.
However, mankind is making a breakthrough in creating a VR world in every technological sense conceivable so as to present fellow mankind an utterly digitalized and immersive world that can genuinely SIMULATE emotive sense of human.
Whether a virtual reality world matters us or not largely depends on our inclination to it, as to how far can we go with this. However, we should not forget the naked fact that our existence in VR world is temporary, we have to back to the real world.
Means, we exist there in a simulation, not in a reality, however real it may seem so.
Note: This blog was written in 2014, almost 3 years ago from today. Much transitions in the world of VR supervened since then. As a result, the information shared here should not be judged in the current context of the VR world.