History of Virtual Reality|Mar. 25, 2019

This article was written on Mar. 25 by me.
I have always been interested in the consumer technology industry, and I could not be more excited when I heard that the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, HTC, announced that they were in the business of consumer-grade VR headsets back in 2016. I was too happy about this news, I decided to write an article about it when I was still in high school. I saw it last night and decided to rewrite it completely and give the topic some 2019 updates (because I still love this topic.)


Here’s the refined version.

VR, short for virtual reality, is an interactive computer-generated experience created with 3D images and audio, sometimes even with touch or smell feedbacks. The concept of VR first emerged in the 1950s, when photographer Morton Heilig developed an arcade-style theater, with several special effects to simulate reality such as vibrating chairs, and smell generators. It, of course, also had a screen for people to watch, and stereo speakers to listen to. It was significant at the time given the machine was capable of so many functions ahead of its time. This became the first attempt in the entertainment industry to create a VR experience.

Fast forward a few decades, the VR industry has boomed. In 2012, A crowdfunding project for bringing consumer VR headset to life quickly became one of the most known brands for VR headsets, Oculus. Oculus remained dominant in the industry for a few years until HTC unveiled its highly anticipated VR device in 2016, becoming the most discussed VR company in the competition. The ever-rising capability of personal computers has pushed what we can achieve in VR even further. The advance in hardware components in computers also means that consumer-grade VR can become the norm. In 2019, big companies like Sony and Microsoft have been in the market, designing their own VR experiences. Besides entertainment and gaming, the industry has branched out to find out many diverse potentials VR can deliver, including educational, business, and medical fields.

In the bright future, we are likely to see the convenience that this technology brings, from doctors practicing operations in virtual reality, consumers trying out virtual outfits or cars, and students visiting the Grand Canyon without actually going there. The prospect of this piece of technology will be, in my honest opinion, thrilling.

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