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Seminar on

For a next generation

Prepared By:

Gajera Jimesh G.



Concept of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality Environment
How Virtual Reality Works
Applications of Virtual Reality
Impact of Virtual Reality
Drawback of Virtual Reality

1. Introduction:-

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-simulated environment, whether that

environment is a simulation of the real world or an imaginary world. Most current
virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayed either on
a screener through special or stereoscopic displays, but some simulations include
additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones.

Some advanced, hectic systems now include tactile information, generally
known as force feedback, in medical and gaming applications. Users can interact
with a virtual environment or a virtual artifact (VA) either through the use of
standard input devices such as a keyboard and 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 from reality, as in VR games. In practice, it is currently very difficult
to create a high-fidelity virtual reality experience, due largely to technical
limitations on processing power, image resolution and communication bandwidth.
However, those limitations are expected to eventually be overcome as processor,
imaging and data communication technologies become more powerful and cost-
effective over time.
Virtual Reality is often used to describe a wide variety of applications,
commonly associated with its immersive, highly visual, 3D environments. The
development of CAD software, graphics hardware acceleration, head mounted
displays, database gloves and miniaturization have helped popularize the notion. In
the book The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Michael R. 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. People often identify
VR with Head Mounted Displays and Data Suits.

2. Concept of Virtual Reality

The term "artificial reality", coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since
the 1970s, but the origin of the term "virtual reality" can be traced back to the
French playwright, poet, actor and director Antonin Artaud. In his seminal
book The Theatre and Its Double (1938), Artaud described theatre as "la réalite
virtuelle", a virtual reality "in which characters, objects, and images take on the
phantasmagoric force of alchemy's visionary internal dramas". It has been used
in The Judas Mandala, a 1982 science-fiction novel by Damien 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
titled "Virtual reality", but the article is not about VR technology. The concept of
virtual reality was popularized in mass media by movies such as
Brainstorm (filmed mostly in 1981) and The Lawnmower Man (plus others
mentioned below). The VR research boom of the 1990s was accompanied by the
non-fiction book Virtual Reality (1991) by Howard Rheingold. The book served to
demystify the subject, making it more accessible to less technical researchers and
enthusiasts, with an impact similar to that which his book The Virtual
Community had on virtual community research lines closely related to
VR. Multimedia: from Wagner to Virtual Reality, edited by Randall Packer and
Ken Jordan and first published in 2001, explores the term and its history from an
avant-garde perspective. Philosophical implications of the concept of VR are
systematically discussed in the book Get Real: A Philosophical Adventure in
Virtual Reality (1998) by Philip Zhai, wherein the idea of VR is pushed to its
logical extreme and ultimate possibility. According to Zhai, virtual reality could be
made to have an ontological status equal to that of actual reality.

3. History

In the 1560s 360-degree art through panoramic murals were believed to have
started the idea of virtual reality. An example of this would be Baldassare Peruzzi's
piece titled, "Sala delle Prospettive".

In 1920s vehicle simulators were introduced. Morton Heilig wrote in the

1950s of an "Experience Theatre" that could encompass all the senses in an
effective manner, thus drawing the viewer into the onscreen 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). Around this time Douglas Englebart uses computer screens as both input
and output devices.

In 1966 Tom Furness introduces a visual flight stimulator for the Air Force.
In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his student Bob Sproull, created what is
widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) head
mounted display (HMD) system. It was primitive both in terms of user interface
and realism, and the HMD to be worn by the user was so heavy it had to be
suspended from the ceiling, and the graphics comprising the virtual environment
were simple wireframe model rooms. The formidable appearance of the device
inspired its name, The Sword of Damocles. Also notable among the earlier
hypermedia and virtual reality systems was the Aspen 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 three modes: summer, winter, and
polygons. The first two were based on photographs — the researchers actually
photographed every possible movement through the city's street grid in both
seasons — and the third was a basic 3-D model of the city. In the late 1980s the
term "virtual reality" was popularized by Jaron Lanier, one of the modern pioneers
of the field. Lanier had founded the company VPL Research (from "Visual
Programming Languages") in 1985, which developed and built some of the seminal
"goggles and gloves" systems of that decade.

4. Virtual Reality Environment

Other sensory output from the VE system should adjust in real time as a user
explores the environment. If the environment incorporates 3-D sound, the user
must be convinced that the sound’s orientation shifts in a natural way as he
maneuvers through the environment. Sensory stimulation must be consistent if a
user is to feel immersed within a VE. If the VE shows a perfectly still scene, you
wouldn’t expect to feel gale-force winds. Likewise, if the VE puts you in the
middle of a hurricane, you wouldn’t expect to feel a gentle breeze or detect the
scent of roses.

Lag time between when a user acts and when the virtual environment
reflects that action is called latency. Latency usually refers to the delay between
the time a user turns his head or moves his eyes and the change in the point of
view, though the term can also be used for a lag in other sensory outputs. Studies
with flight simulators show that humans can detect a latency of more than 50
milliseconds. When a user detects latency, it causes him to become aware of being
in an artificial environment and destroys the sense of immersion.

An immersive experience suffers if a user becomes aware of the real world

around him. Truly immersive experiences make the user forget his real
surroundings, effectively causing the computer to become a non entity. In order to
reach the goal of true immersion, developers have to come up with input methods
that are more natural for users. As long as a user is aware of the interaction device,
he is not truly immersed.

5. How Virtual Reality Works

What do you think of when you hear the words virtual reality (VR)? Do
you imagine someone wearing a clunky helmet attached to a computer with a thick

cable? Do visions of crudely rendered pterodactyls haunt you? Do you think of
Neo and Morpheus traipsing about the Matrix? Or do you wince at the term,
wishing it would just go away?

If the last applies to you, you're likely a computer scientist or engineer, many
of whom now avoid the words virtual reality even while they work on technologies
most of us associate with VR. Today, you're more likely to hear someone use the
words virtual environment (VE) to refer to what the public knows as virtual

Fig: A virtual reality CAVE display projecting images onto the floor, walls and
ceiling to provide full immersion.
Naming discrepancies aside, the concept remains the same - using computer
technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can
manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world.
Scientists, theorists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and
applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what exactly constitutes a true
VR experience, but in general it should include:

• Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the
perspective of the user
• The ability to track a user's motions, particularly his head
and eye movements, and correspondingly adjust the images on the user's
display to reflect the change in perspective.

6. Applications of Virtual Reality

VIRTUAL REALITY IS WELL KNOWN for its use with flight simulators and
games. However, these are only two of the many ways virtual reality is being used
today. This article will summarize how virtual reality is used in medicine,
architecture, weather simulation, chemistry and the visualization of voxel data. In
addition, links to web pages where other uses of virtual reality are detailed are
included at the end of this article.


Mark Billinghurst, at the Hit Lab in Washington, has developed a

prototype surgical assistant for simulation of paranasal surgery.
During a simulated operation the system provides vocal and visual
feedback to the user, and warns the surgeon when a dangerous action
is about to take place. In addition to training, the expert assistant can
be used during the actual operation to provide feedback and guidance. This is very
useful when the surgeon's awareness of the situation is limited due to complex

Finally, Billinghurst and his associates are working at developing a toolkit for
physicians which will help them create their own expert assistants for other types
of surgery.


The department of visualization and virtual reality at the IGD

University in Germany has developed a program that uses radiosity
and raytracing to simulate light. This virtual reality program has
applications in the area of architecture and light engineering.

With light simulation architects can examine how outdoor light will fall inside and
outside their building before it is built. If the lighting needs to be redesigned, the
architect can redesign the building on the computer and examine the new outdoor
light effects.

In addition to outdoor light, lighting engineers use virtual reality to examine the
effects of point lights, spotlights and other indoor light sources. An interior
designer could examine how light will affect different room arrangements.

Weather Simulation

Fraunhaufer-IGD has developed a visualization system for weather
forecasting called "TriVis". TriVis accepts data from meteorological
services such as satellite data, statistically corrected forecast data,
precipitation data and fronts information. It then analyzes this data
and uses fractal functions to create projections of storm systems.
Using TriVis to visualize artificial clouds, meteorologists can predict weather with
increased accuracy.

The data gathered and analyzed by the TriVis system is used by television weather
reporters to show their audiences storm systems. TriVis has been used in television
weather forecasts since 1993.


Real Mol is a program that uses virtual reality to show molecular

models in an interactive, immersive environment. The scientist who
uses the program wears a cyberglove and a head mounted display to
interact with the molecular system. Using RealMol scientists can
move molecules or protein chains to create new molecules. This is
useful in fields such as drug design.

RealMol displays molecules in three ways: ball and stick model, stick model and
CPK model. The molecules are rendered through a molecular dynamics simulation

Voxel Data

ISVAS is an interactive software program that is utilized to analyze

3D and voxel data. It was developed by Fraunhofer-LBF. Using this
program, scientists can analyze vector or scalar values.

A similar program was used by students at UCSD to analyze the

voxel data obtained when observing the solar winds. The image at left is a small
version of the visualization of the voxel data that depicts the solar wind patterns.

Other Applications of Virtual Reality

Flight Simulator

Museums and Cultural Heritage

Financial Data

Training: Hubble Telescope

On the Net: VR Resources

7. Future

It is difficult to predict the future of virtual reality with confidence. In the

short run, the graphics displayed in the HMD will soon reach a point of near visual

(but not behavioral) realism. The audio capabilities will move into a new realm of
three dimensional sound. This refers to the addition of sound channels both above
and below the individual or a Holophony approach.

Within existing technological limits, sight and sound are the two senses
which best lend themselves to high quality simulation. There are however attempts
being currently made to simulate smell. The purpose of current research is linked
to a project aimed at treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in veterans by
exposing them to combat simulations, complete with smells.
Although it is often seen in the context of entertainment by popular culture,
this illustrates the point that the future of VR is very much tied into therapeutic,
training, and engineering demands. Given that fact, a full sensory immersion

beyond basic tactile feedback, sight, sound, and smell is unlikely to be a goal in the
It is worth mentioning that simulating smells, while it can be done very
realistically, requires costly research and development to make each odor, and the
machine itself is expensive and specialized, using capsules tailor made for it. Thus
far basic, and very strong smells such as burning rubber, cordite, gasoline fumes,
and so-forth have been made. Japan's NTT Communications, of Tokyo, has just
finished testing an Internet-connected odor-delivery system to be used by retailers
and restaurants to attract customers. But as new trials and applications are tried out
and more data gathered, Hamada says he is sure the technology “will take
communications to a new level in content richness, compared to today's
communications, which only offers images and sounds”.
In order to engage the other sense of taste, the brain must be manipulated
directly. This would move virtual reality into the realm of simulated reality like the
brain interface ports used in The Matrix. Although no form of this has been
seriously developed at this point, Sony has taken the first step. On April 7, 2005,
Sony went public with the information that they had filed for and received a patent
for the idea of the non-invasive beaming of different frequencies and patterns of
ultrasonic waves directly into the brain to recreate all five senses. There has been
research to show that this is possible. Sony has conducted tests and says that it is a
good idea.
Virtual reality is a costly development in technology. Because of this, the
future of VR is dependent on whether or not those costs can be reduced in some
way. If VR technology becomes affordable, it could be very widespread but for
now major industries are the sole buyers that have the opportunity to utilize this

First Virtual Reality Technology To Let You See, Hear, Smell, Taste
And Touch

To date, though, Virtual Reality devices have not been able to stimulate
simultaneously all five senses with a high degree of realism.

Scientists from the Universities of York and Warwick now believe they have
been able to pinpoint the necessary expertise to make this possible, in a project
called 'Towards Real Virtuality'.

'Real Virtuality' is a term coined by the project team to highlight their aim of
providing a 'real' experience in which all senses are stimulated in such a way that
the user has a fully immersive perceptual experience, during which s/he cannot tell
whether or not it is real.

Fig: Concept design of a mobile Virtual Cocoon.

Teams at York and Warwick now aim to link up with experts at the
Universities of Bangor, Bradford and Brighton to develop the 'Virtual Cocoon' – a
new Real Virtuality device that can stimulate all five senses much more
realistically than any other current or prospective device.
For the user the 'Virtual Cocoon' will consist of a headset incorporating specially
developed electronics and computing capabilities. It could help unlock the full
potential benefits of Real Virtuality in fields such as education, business and
environmental protection.

A mock-up of the Virtual Cocoon will be on display at 'Pioneers 09', an

EPSRC showcase event to be held at London's Olympia Conference Centre on
March 4.

Professor David Howard of the University of York, lead scientist on the

initiative, says: "Virtual Reality projects have typically only focused on one or two
of the five senses – usually sight and hearing. We're not aware of any other
research group anywhere else in the world doing what we plan to do.

"Smell will be generated electronically via a new technique being pioneered

by Alan Chalmers and his team at Warwick which will deliver a pre-determined
smell recipe on-demand. Taste and smell are closely linked but we intend to
provide a texture sensation relating to something being in the mouth. Tactile
devices will provide touch."

A key objective will be to optimize the way all five senses interact, as in real
life. The team also aims to make the Virtual Cocoon much lighter, more
comfortable and less expensive than existing devices, as a result of the improved
computing and electronics they develop.

There has been considerable public debate on health & safety as well as on
ethical issues surrounding Real Virtuality, since this kind of technology
fundamentally involves immersing users in virtual environments that separate them
from the real world.

Professor David Howard says: "In addition to the technical development of

the Virtual Cocoon, we aim to closely evaluate the full, far-reaching economic and
other implications of more widespread application of Real Virtuality technologies
for society as a whole."

8. Impact of Virtual Reality

There has been increasing interest in the potential social impact of new
technologies, such as virtual reality (as may be seen in utopian literature, within the
social sciences, and in popular culture). Mychilo S. Cline, in his book, Power,
Madness, and Immortality: The Future of Virtual Reality, published in 2005,
argues that virtual reality will lead to a number of important changes in human life
and activity. He argues that:

 Virtual reality will be integrated into daily life and activity and will be used
in various human ways.
 Techniques will be developed to influence human behavior, interpersonal
communication, and cognition (i.e., virtual genetics).
 As we spend more and more time in virtual space, there will be a gradual
“migration to virtual space,” resulting in important changes in economics,
worldview, and culture.
 The design of virtual environments may be used to extend basic human
rights into virtual space, to promote human freedom and well-being, and to
promote social stability as we move from one stage in socio-political
development to the next.

9. Drawbacks of Virtual Reality

With new technology also comes disadvantages. These techniques take time,
effort, and money to implement. People may experience a feeling of a loss of
reality and a feeling of isolation as they interact with an artificial world, instead of
a real world with real people. Finally, virtual reality can increase unemployment as
fewer people are needed to design projects: products in their design stage no longer
need to be built. However, new jobs will open up in the field of designing virtual
reality technology.

Despite these disadvantages, the benefits of using virtual reality far outweigh
them. It is a force that everyone needs to know about and be able to use. It will
soon become a dominant force in all industries. In order to fully utilize this
technology people will have to become as familiar with it as they are with the

10. Bibliography