Friday, May 31, 2019

How Does Virtual Reality Work? A Simple Rundown

Virtual reality is a hot topic nowadays, with new uses for it cropping up daily. From gaming to education, virtual reality’s potential applications are almost limitless. But how does virtual reality work? To truly grasp this, you need to know everything that goes into these complex systems.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality allows users to immerse themselves in an alternate reality in a virtual world. This world can take on a plethora of forms. Sci-fi games, for example, tout impressive landscapes filled with neon lights and super-powered androids. Medical simulations, on the other hand, feature realistic renderings of a medical environment. Each form may look different, but the main components are immersive screens and settings that take you into another world.

How does it look so real?

There’s a reason that watching something on TV and seeing something in VR are two totally different experiences. Virtual reality tricks your brain into believing you’re in the world being projected before your eyes. The key to this is the use of a stereoscopic display. In a nutshell, this means that the same image is projected to each of your eyes at two slightly different angles, subtly and effectively simulating depth. When this is paired with clever programming and expert graphics, you get an experience that might as well be real.

Using the senses

Sight is, of course, necessary when it comes to effective VR, but it’s not the only sense at play. Immersive audio is essential to how virtual reality works. Spatial audio—or 3D audio—emulates sounds coming from different angles. If a monster crept up behind you in a VR game, for example, you’d hear the sound of its movement coming from behind. This amplifies your heightened senses, bringing you even further into the virtual world.

Movement within the system

Simply gawking at an impressively rendered, lifelike environment isn’t enough—you’ve got to be able to interact with it, too. This movement is achieved through a hand-held controller, which interacts with infrared sensors to give players the ability to interact with the virtual world. This allows the user to move freely about the room they’re in, making the virtual experience a truly lifelike one.

The future of virtual reality

Virtual reality has come so far, but there are still many innovations and changes on the horizon. As the technology continues to develop, it will become far more accessible. How virtual reality works is through the melding of many expert technologies. Combing impeccable visuals with surround sound audio and clever tracking creates an experience that cannot be replicated. As virtual reality technology advances, these experiences will only get better.