Virtual Reality LabRoom 11.E.11 - Campus I
What is virtual reality?
The term Virtual Reality (VR) was coined by Jaron Lanier during the 1980s. On the one hand, it refers to the illusion of the senses caused by an artificially created environment, and on the other hand, it also refers to the field that deals with the implementation of VR. The discipline comprises a mixture of computer graphics, projection technology, perception psychology and the human-machine interface.
From today’s perspective, VR means the representation of a virtual object in 3D (stereoscopic representation). It is characterised by three features: working in a real-time environment, immersion and interactivity.
The term “immersion” has its roots in the Latin verb “immergere”, which means “to plunge in, to sink”. The user plunges in a computer generated, artificial world - a so called virtual reality. This happens by means of stereoscopic representation (3D). The user is integrated into a virtual world by including senses such as sight, hearing and touch. Stereoscopy is a spatial imaging technique in which the image of a three-dimensional objective is perceived spatially. In an ideal virtual environment, the viewer can no longer distinguish between reality and virtuality. This is realized via various output devices, such as 3D monitors, projection screens with 3D glasses, head-mounted displays etc.
The term “interaction” has also its root in Latin. “Inter” means “among” and “action” comes from “agere” which is the verb for “to act”. The viewer has the opportunity to actively influence objects or environments, i.e. to interact with the immersive environment. This is realized with input devices such as VR-suit, flysticks, targets.
Working in a real-time environment
By real-time environment, we mean interaction in real-time. Each of the users’ activities is implemented immediately and thus differs from video animations.
While users at a conventional computer workstation has to content themselves with the two-dimensional representation and the strongly limited possibilities of interaction with mouse or keyboard, immersive techniques create an apparent reality that enables the users to interact as they are accustomed to in reality.
Important for the effective implementation of Virtual Reality is a large-format representation of the data (by a large projection surface), a stereoscopic representation (e.g. passive image separation by polarizing filter glasses), the possibility of perspective adjustment by a tracking system, as well as the intuitive interaction possibility by an input device.
Video “Mixed Reality” - Possibilities of visualisation in the VR Lab