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An Insight Into Virtual Reality Essay, Research Paper

Virtual Reality is a creation of a highly interactive computer based multimedia environment in which the user becomes a participant with the computer in a “virtually real” world

We are living in amn era characterized by 3D virtual systems created by computer graphics. In the concept called Virtual Reality (VR), the virtual reality engineer is combining computer, video, image-processing, and sensor technologies so that a human can enter into and react with spaces generated by computer graphics.

In 1969-70, a MIT scientist went to the University of Utah, where he began to work with vector generated graphics. He built a see-through helmet that used television screens and half-silvered mirrors, so that the environment was visible through the TV displays. It was not yet designed to provide a surrounding environment. It was not until the mid ’80’s that virtual reality systems were becoming more defined. The AMES contract started in 1985, came up with the first glove in February 1986. The glove is made of thin Lycra and is fitted with 15 sensors that monitor finger flexion, extension, hand position and orientation. Connected to a computer through fiber optic cables. sensor inputs enable the computer to generate an on screen image of the hand that follows the operator’s hand movements. The glove also has miniature vibrators in the finger tips to provide feedback to the operator from grasped virtual objects. Therefore, driven by the proper software, the system allows the operator to interact by grabbing and moving a virtual object within a simulated room, while experiencing the “feel” of the object.

The virtual reality line includes the Datasuit and the Eyephone. The Dtasuit is an instrumented full-body garment that enables full-body interaction with a computer constructed virtual world. In one use, this product is worn by film actors to give realistic movement to animated characters in computer generated special effects. The Eyephone is a head mounted stereo display that shows a computer made virtual world in full color and 3D.

The Eyephone technology is based on an experimental Virtual Interface Environment Workstation (VIEW) design. VIEW is a head-mounted stereoscopic display system with two 3.9 inch television screens, one for each eye. The display can be a computer generated scene or a real environment sent by remote video cameras. Sound effects delivered to the headset increase the realism.

It was intended to use the glove and software for such ideas as a surgical simulation, or “3D virtual surgery” for medical students. In the summer of 1991, US trainee surgeons were able to practice leg operations without having to cut anything solid. NASA Scientists have developed a three-dimensional computer simulation of a human leg which surgeons can operate on by entering the computer world of virtual reality. Surgeons use the glove and Eyephone technology to create the illusion that they are operating on a leg.

Other virtual reality systems such as the Autodesk and the CAVE have also come up with techniques to penetrate a virtual world. The Autodesk uses a simple monitor and is the most basic visual example for virtual reality. An example where this could be used is while exercising. For example, Autodesk may be connected to an exercise bike, you can then look around a graphic world as you pedal through it. If you pedal fast enough, your bike takes off and flies.

The CAVE is a new virtual reality interface that engulfs the individual into a room whose walls, ceiling, and floor surround the viewer with virtual space. The illusion is so powerful you won’t be able to tell what’s real and what’s not.

Computer engineers seem fascinated by virtual reality because you can not only program a world, but in a sense, inhabit it.

Mythic space surrounds the cyborg, embracing him/her with images that seem real but are not.

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