top of page

Evolution of Virtual Reality

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Virtual reality is the creation of a simulated environment that is presented to the user in such a way that they feel as though they are physically present in that environment. It has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with computers and the world around us.


But how did it all came into being?


From clunky, cumbersome headsets to sleek, sophisticated devices, the technology behind VR has evolved significantly over the years. In this post, we'll take a look at the history of VR and how it has evolved into the technology we know today.

The concept of virtual reality has been around for centuries, with early references dating back to the 18th century. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that the first VR-style devices started to appear.


1950s

Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way since it was first introduced to the public in the 1950s. One of the earliest examples was the Morton Heilig, Sensorama. A machine that was designed to stimulate all of the senses and create a fully immersive experience. The Sensorama included a viewing screen, stereo speakers, and a device that produced smells and airflow, all of which were designed to enhance the sense of immersion.



1960s-1970s

In the 1960s and 1970s, the first VR head mounted display were developed,

Morton Heilig’s Telesphere Mask and the first motion tracking headset by Philco Corporation engineers (Comeau & Bryan), the Sword of Damocles by Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull, later followed by the Aspen Movie Map were the stepping stones of the first VR / AR head mounted display. These early headsets were large, heavy, and expensive, and they often required users to be tethered to a computer or other device. Despite these limitations, they provided a glimpse of what was possible with VR technology and sparked the imagination of developers and enthusiasts around the world.

"The screen is a window through which one sees a virtual world. The challenge is to make the virtual world look real, act real, sound real, feel real." - Ivan Sutherland

1980s-1990s

In the 1980s and 1990s, VR technology continued to evolve, with the introduction of more advanced headsets and input devices. NASA with the help of Crystal River Engineering used VR sim used to train astronauts. One of the most notable examples was the Virtuality Group, which developed a range of VR arcades and home systems that were popular in the early 90s. Other notable developments during this period included the development of VR simulation systems for military and aviation training, as well as the first VR-based video games on Nintendo's tabletop portable Virtual Boy.


2000s-2010s

In the 2000s and 2010s, VR technology saw a significant resurgence, thanks in large part to advances in computer graphics and the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices. This resurgence was led by prodigious companies which developed products like Oculus Rift headset, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Microsoft's Hololens and kickstarted a new wave of interest in VR.


Today, VR technology is more accessible and user-friendly than ever before, with a wide range of VR headsets, games, and apps available for users of all levels of experience.

As we look to the future, it's clear that VR technology has the potential to continue evolving in exciting and innovative ways. From more advanced headsets and input devices to new applications in fields like education, healthcare, and entertainment, the future of VR looks bright.

Whether you're a seasoned VR enthusiast or just starting to explore the world of virtual reality, there's no doubt that the next few years will bring even more exciting developments in this exciting and rapidly-evolving field.


 

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page