Virtual Reality is a combination of two words – Virtual and Reality. Virtual is something that is near and reality is what we as human beings experience. So Virtual Reality means ‘Near-real’. It is a specific type of emulating reality.
Everything we know about reality comes from our sense organs. We have been taught in school about the five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing. However, there are other senses that humans possess, like the sense of balance. These other senses that we have combined with some special processing of sensory information by our brain ensure that we have a super rich flow of information from our surrounds to our minds.
If we present made up information to our senses, our perception of reality also changes accordingly. We then perceive as real something that is actually not present. This is what we call Virtual Reality.
How is Virtual Reality achieved?
Virtual reality is implemented using computer technology. A range of devices like headsets, gloves, etc is used for this purpose. All these simulate our senses in order to create an illusion. The simplest form of virtual reality is a 3-D image that can be explored using a computer by manipulating keys or the mouse. Virtual reality works by tricking your brain. A virtual reality headset shows you an image and as soon as you move your head, it modifies the image to make it look like you are really there.
Virtual Reality can be divided into:
- The simulation of real environment for education and training.
- The creation of an imagined environment for gaming and story-telling purposes.
Why Virtual Reality?
The potential value in the field of entertainment is clear with videos games and films becoming popular. But there are many more serious applications of Virtual Reality. These include Architecture, medicine, arts, sports etc. Virtual Reality can lead to exciting new discoveries that can help mankind. Whenever something seems to be too expensive or dangerous to implement in reality, virtual reality can be used instead. Trainee pilot flights and trainee surgeons are few examples where virtual reality can let us take virtual risks in order to gain practical experience.