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P o p a t i a A f t a b V i r t u a l R e a l i t y 1. INTRODUCTION WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment, be it a real or imagined one.Most current virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayedeither on a computer screen or through special or stereoscopic displays, but some simulationsinclude additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones. Someadvanced, haptic systems now include tactile information, generally known as forcefeedback, in medical and gaming applications. Users can interact with a virtual environmentor a virtual artifact (VA) either through the use of standard input devices such as a keyboardand mouse, or through multimodal devices such as a wired glove, the Polhemus boom arm, and omni directional treadmill. The simulated environment can be similar to the real world,for example, simulations for pilot or combat training, or it can differ significantly fromreality, as in VR games. In practice, it is currently very difficult to create a high -fidelityvirtual reality experience, due largely to technical limitations on processing power, image r e s o l u t i o n a n d communication bandwidth. However, those limitations are expected t o eventually be overcome as processor, imaging and data communication technologies becomemore powerful and cost-effective over time.Virtual Reality is often used to describe a wide variety of applications, commonlyass ociated with its immersive, highly visual, 3D environments. The development of CAD s o f t w a r e , g r a p h i c s h a r d w a r e a c c e l e r a t i o n , h e a d m o u n t e d d i s p l a ys , d a t a b a s e g l o v e s a n d miniaturization have helped popularize the notion. In the book The Metaphysics of VirtualReality, Michael Heim identifies seven different concepts of Virtual Reality: simulation,interaction, artificiality, immersion, telepresence, full-body immersion, and network communication. The definition still has a certain futuristic romanticism attached. Peopleoften identify VR with Head Mounted Displays and Data Suits.1 Background2.1 Terminology The term artificial reality, coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since the1 9 7 0 s b u t t h e origin of the term virtual reality can be traced back to the F r e n c h playwright, poet, actor and director Antonin Artaud. In(1938), Artaud describedtheatre as "la realite virtuelle", a virtual reality "in which characters, objects, andimages take on the phantasmagoric force of alchemy's visionary internal dramas". Ith a s b e e n u s e d i n T h e J u d a s M a n d a l a , a 1 9 8 2 s c i e n c e f i c t i o n n o v e l b y D a m i e n Broderick, where the context of use is somewhat different from that defined above.The earliest use cited by the Oxford English Dictionary is in a 1987 article entitled"Virtual reality". The VR developer Jaron Lanier claims that he coined the term in theearly 1980s, however this is almost fifty years after it appeared in Artaud's book. Thec o n c e p t o f v i r t u a l r e a l i t y w a s p o p u l a r i z e d i n m a s s m e d i a b y m o v i e s s u c h a s Brainstorm and The Lawnmower Man and the VR research boom of the 1990s wasmotivated in part by the non-fiction book Virtual Reality by Howard Rheingold. Thebook served to demystify the subject, making it more accessible to

less technicalresearchers and enthusiasts, with an impact similar to what his book The VirtualCommunity had on virtual community research lines closely related to VR.M u l t i m e d i a : f r o m W a g n e r t o V i r t u a l R e a l i t y, e d i t e d b y R a n d a l l P a c k e r a n d K e n Jordan and first published in 2001, explores the term and its history from an avant-garde perspective. 2.2 Timeline Morton Heilig wrote in the 1950s of an "Experience Theatre" that c o u l d encompass all the senses in an effective manner, thus drawing the viewer into theonscreen activity. He built a prototype of his vision dubbed the Sensorama in 1962,along with five short films to be displayed in it while engaging multiple senses (sight,sound, smell, and touch). Predating digital computing, the Sensorama was amechanical device, which reportedly still functions today. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland,with the help of his student Bob Sproull, created what is widely considered to be thefirst virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) head mounted display (HMD) system.2

P o p a t i a A f t a b V i r t u a l R e a l i t y It was primitive both in terms of user interface and realism, and the HMD to be wornby the user was so heavy it had to be suspended from the ceiling, and the graphics c o m p r i s i n g t h e v i r t u a l e n v i r o n m e n t w e r e s i m p l e w i r e f r a m e m o d e l r o o m s . T h e formidable appearance of the device inspired its name, The Sword of Damocles. Alson o t a b l e a m o n g t h e e a r l i e r h yp e r m e d i a a n d v i r t u a l r e a l i t y s ys t e m s w a s t h e A s p e n Movie Map, which was created at MIT in 1977. The program was a crude virtual simulation of Aspen, Colorado in which users could wander the streets in one of threemodes: summer, winter, and polygons. The first two were based on photographs the researchers actually photographed every possible movement through the city'sstreet grid in both seasons and the third was a basic 3-D model of the city. In thel a t e 1 9 8 0 s t h e t e r m " v i r t u a l r e a l i t y " w a s p o p u l a r i z e d b y J a r o n L a n i e r , o n e o f t h e modern pioneers of the field. Lanier had founded the company VPL Research (from"Virtual Programming Languages") in 1985, which developed and built some of the seminal "goggles n' gloves" systems of that decade. 3. Methods of VR 3.1 Simulation-based VR The first method is simulation-based virtual reality. Driving simulators, for example, give the driver on board the impression that he/she is actually driving anactual vehicle by predicting vehicular motion caused by driver input and feeding back c o r r e s p o n d i n g v i s u a l , m o t i o n , a u d i o a n d p r o p r i o c e p t i v e c u e s t o t h e d r i v e r . T h e s i m u l a t o r n o r m a l l y c o n s i s t s o f s e v e r a l s ys t e m s a s f o l l o w s : a r e a l - t i m e v e h i c l e simulation system performing real-time simulation of vehicle dynamics; motion,visual and audio systems reproducing vehicle motion, driving environment scenesand noise sensed by a driver during driving; a control force roading system acting asan interface between the driver and the simulator; an operator console for monitoringsystem operation; and system integration managing information and data transfer a m o n g s u b s y s t e m s a n d s yn c h r o n i z a t i o n . T h e d r i v i n g s i m u l a t o r s

h a v e b e e n u s e d effectively for vehicle system development, safety improvement and human factor study.3