Social Implications Of Virtual Reality

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History of VR

Stereoscopic Photo Viewer (1838)

A Stereoscopic Photo Viewer allows the user to view an image in 3D. It is a simple device that shows slightly different photos to each eye to create the illusion of depth [1].

Link Trainer (1929)

The Link Trainer was the first flight simulator, an electromechanical device that moved based on input from the pilot [1].

Telesphere (1960)

The telesphere was the first head-mounted display (HMD) that showed stereoscopic films. However, it contained no motion tracking or interactivity [1].

Headsight (1961)

The Headsight followed in the Telesphere's footsteps, giving a stereoscopic view. However, it used motion tracking to control a camera feeding images to the user. It was originally designed for military use, to allow the user to survey a dangerous situation remotely [1].

Sensorama (1962)

The Sensorama was similar to today's "4D" movies. It gave the user a stereoscopic 3D experience, as well as generated smells. It also had fans and a vibrating chair to stimulate touch [1]. 

Ivan Sutherland's "Ultimate Display" (1965)

Ivan Sutherland described a concept of a virtual reality device capable of simulating reality completely. He claimed that a chair in this virtual world could be good enough to sit in, handcuffs confining, and bullets lethal [1].

The term Virtual Reality is coined (1987)

With the creation of the VPL “EyePhone” as a commercial product, the term "virtual reality" is coined for advertisement[1]

Virtuality Group VR (1991)

Virtuality Group add a new game to arcades:  VR Machines.  They provide real-time gaming in Virtual Reality[1]

Second Life (2003)

Sega prototypes its VR headset for the Genesis game console. It allowed the user to use motion control and had LCD screens displaying in front of the user. However, development costs left it stuck in the prototype phase [1].


    • Nintendo releases VirtualBoy - stereoscopic wireframe with controller (1995)

Nintendo releases its VirtualBoy, a game console consisting of a headset on a stand. It utilized stereoscopic vision and wireframe graphics to give the user a 3D gaming experience. It was a commercial failure because of the limited color choice in games (all games were in red and black) [1].

Google Glass (2012)

Google reveals project glass, a head mounted display designed to act like a computer[3]

Oculus Rift

Facebook releases the Oculus Rift, a virtual headset, set to compete against Valve, HTC, Microsoft, and Sony[1]

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