From birth, our bodies and thus our senses are used to communicate with everything around us.
We also began to talk about how to create ” parallel worlds ” with the birth of electronics first and then of information technology and specific studies began about how to stimulate the senses through simulations around the mid-1950s;
these simulations of environments were performed by multisensory stimuli and the studies produced a project that resulted in the construction of a sophisticated environment.
In the late 1960s, with the studies carried out by Ivan Sutherland at the University of Utah, the first example of digital reality as we know it today was created and allowed the construction of the first viewer of virtual reality.
Virtual Reality, what is it?
But what is truly virtual reality?
What are the developments and environments that VR (Virtual Reality) already provides and will be able to make a major contribution to development in the future?
It must be assumed that to answer the first question, Virtual Reality is essentially an exclusively digital environment created by one or more computers that simulate and recreates real reality in an intangible way and that is transmitted to our senses through interaction-enabling consoles.
This data exchange is permitted by computer devices, mostly vision goggles, touch gloves and hearing aids in real time with everything that is produced in that world.
Allows complete immersion in the simulation created in a three-dimensional and dynamic manner by accessing a whole pre-ordered series of contents that are explored to create a real parallel wood.
As already mentioned, there was the first realistic approach to digital reality in the early sixties;
Sensorama can be described as the first and only complete Virtual Reality device to date as it was able to stimulate all 5 senses (with stroboscopic visual images, hearing loudspeakers, smell and smell aromas and smells, air flows through the face and neck and a handlebar and hands
The user is completely isolated from the external environment in the first case and is transferred to the reproduced parallel reality and is fully absorbed in it thanks to a complex set of accessories that integrate professional viewers such as the Oculus Rift;
On the other hand, in the second case, the digitally recreated environment has a lower emotional impact on the subject inside the goggle, and this also occurs because of the quality of the viewers:
for example, in the Samsung Gear VR, it is the smartphone that recreates the virtual environment, which is inserted inside the viewer in a special housing.
Virtual Reality’s architecture
The architecture needed to take full advantage of Virtual Reality is made up of viewers with certain characteristics.
Such as a field of view from 100 to 110 degrees, a frame rate (frequency of projected images per second) between a minimum of 60fps and a maximum of 120fps to avoid an annoying jerky vision of the eyes, a gyroscope that allows an accelerator to be combined with an accelerator.
All of this is intentionally developed to ensure that when we hear a noise, the user can interact and ‘live’ within virtual reality and in the real world, we turn our gaze towards the source of the sound;
this is enabled in Virtual Reality both by the presence within the viewer of a professional multi-channel audio system that provides the feeling of sounds coming from all directions and that enables the viewer to be present.
Virtual Reality VS Augmented Reality
In many instances, Virtual Reality is confused with Augmented Reality;
in reality, the latter is enrichment and improvement of the perception of the real world through a series of digital content and additional inputs that allow us to have a deeper understanding of the environment that surrounds us (always in real time) than a particular part of and, above all, not being immersive like Virtual Reality (as in the case of car accessories).
Virtual Reality is, therefore, together with the Cloud (whose infrastructure it can exploit), artificial intelligence (of which it exploits Machine Learning mechanisms) and Big Data (of which it exploits the amount of data and filter and research algorithms), the new frontier of software development;
a very famous example of collaboration between these infrastructures was Nintendo’s interactive The ability of Virtual Reality to reproduce any type of real environment allows for a very dynamic approach to real problems and is thus capable of proposing itself to any type of market and satisfying any type of request.
Virtual Reality applications: medicine, architecture and fashion.
Let’s take 3 examples of the application of virtual reality in three very distant fields to better explain this concept of adaptability: medicine, architecture and fashion.
Virtual reality is becoming not only an educational instrument in the medical field, but also a therapeutic and operational one, with the most famous epilogue at the Royal London Hospital in April a year ago, where the first surgical operation was performed in connection with India.
Virtual Reality, thanks to its enormous ability to simulate daily steps with increasing levels of complexity, allows you to perform a kind of personalized training of the patient within a safe and controlled system that accompanies him from the beginning of the disease (such as an accident or a disease) in the field of both physical and cognitive rehabilitation.
In the surgical field, virtual reality (and especially augmented reality) allows operating in very difficult and highly dangerous situations such as those between the brain and the torso;
taking advantage of the third dimension, thanks to an exocamera operated by the surgeon and through the images amplified on a moni.
There is the possibility of observing details that are not visible to the naked eye Virtual Reality also allows you to have a very comprehensive range of tools in the medical field for an even earlier diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s through sensorineural reactivation based on memories of past events.
In the field of education, training and updating, another aspect of Virtual Reality in medicine is of fundamental importance;
the ability of VR to be able to recreate environments faithfully allows students to simulate interventions and operations of any type or diagnosis without having to intervene directly on the patient but in an equally realistic manner;
an osteopath can give an example.
Building design, both for construction, for renovation and interiors, with a clear distinction and integration between 2-dimensional design, in CAD and VR, is another field in which Virtual Reality has predominantly taken hold;
in the first case, you look at how the result of the idea should be through design software while you live the result with Virtual Reality;
It is also possible to build and explore virtual buildings and homes before construction begins, thanks to immersive 3D rendering software, so that any design deficiencies can be verified, avoiding costly modifications.
The last example concerns the field of fashion where virtual reality allows you to wear clothes with the accessories related to them before buying them and without having to go and try them inside a dressing room without having that annoying (for some) need to scroll through the entire warehouse of the store, and without having the anguish of finding the right size.
In fashion, Augmented Reality finds a lot of space, particularly because of its lower need for infrastructure power:
there are goggles equipped with a camera instead of viewers that allow, for example, to see a certain model of dress in multiple shapes and colors simply by looking at the model that is placed in front.
Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence: should we worry about that?
It is precisely fashion that could be the arm of a futuristic project:
combining Virtual Reality with Artificial Intelligence, or the possibility of entering a constantly evolving virtual world that alters one’s own space, for instance, considering what we wear (if we are in costume the environment is a beach, if we are in a jacket the proposed environment will be a mountain)
Therefore, the union between Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality on Cloud Computing platforms is already very close to the realization of what was only the result of a sci-fi cinematic imagination until a few years ago.
Are you bound to worry?
Each new technology has its dark sides and has detractors who imagine catastrophic changes, especially at the beginning of its history, but innovation and research are an integral part of human nature:
it is how the various discoveries are used that makes them useful, harmful or dangerous; the greatest danger in the case of virtual reality (especially if associated with artificial reality)