Virtual Reality is a realistic three-dimensional image or artistic environment that is usually presented in such a way all temporary deviations in the virtual environment are accepted as a real environment. Virtual Reality can best be understood by defining what we want to achieve - total immersion.
Total immersion means that sensual experience is felt as real, and at the same time, we forget that it is a virtual-artificial environment and we begin to interact with it in the same way as we do in the real world. With the help of Virtual Reality, we can imitate the properties of the real environment. Which means that the Virtual Reality environment can simulate our everyday environment (for example: walk in the park, walk in the favorite city ...) or exceeds the boundaries of physical reality by creating a world where physical laws do not apply or do not exist (for example: fight with aliens, travel through space, visiting other planets with zero gravity ...).
KEY ELEMENTS OF VIRTUAL REALITY
Virtual environment: it is a three-dimensional environment that is often, but not necessarily, implemented through media (for rendering, display), where the user can interactively participate. In the virtual world, visual perspectives respond to changes in motion and interaction that imitate actions from the real world.
Immersion: it is the perception of physical presence in a non-physical world. It gives a sense of presence, a point where the human brain believe that something is real, although it is not, what we achieve through mental and/or physical means. The state of total immersion exists when enough senses are activated to create the perception of presence in the non-physical world. The immersion is divided into two types:
- mental immersion: a deep mental state of engagement, with the exclusion of a doubt that someone is in a virtual world.
- physical immersion: presented physical participation into the virtual world, with the exclusion of a doubt that someone is in a virtual world.
Sensory feedback: Virtual Reality needs as many of our senses as possible to simulate the virtual environment. These senses include vision, hearing, touch and other senses. For proper encouragement of these senses, we need feedback, which is obtained through the integrated hardware and software. Examples of hardware include a headset, special gloves for sensing, manual controls and more.
Interactivity: the element of interactivity is crucial for Virtual Reality, which provides users with comfort at which they naturally integrate into the virtual environment. If the virtual environment responds to the user's action in a natural way, the enthusiasm and feelings of immersion will remain. If the virtual environment cannot respond quickly enough, the human brain will notice this, and the feeling of immersion will disappear. The responses of the virtual environment to interaction can include the way how the participant moves and changes his point of view: usually with the movement of the head.
TYPES OF VIRTUAL REALITY
There are several types of technologies for creating Virtual Reality. Types of Virtual Reality vary according to the use cases.
Non-immersion Virtual Reality: this is the least immersive implementation of Virtual Reality. In a non-immersive simulation, only a part of the user’s senses is stimulated, which enables the peripheral awareness of reality outside the simulation. Users enter the three-dimensional virtual environment through a portal or window using standard high-resolution monitors.
Semi-immersion: simulations provide a more immersive experience, in which the user is a semi, not totally, immersed in the virtual environment. Semi-immersion simulators represent and exploit a similar technology, which we can found in flight simulators. It is run by high-performance graphics computing systems, often connected with large projection systems.
Total-immersion: it provides the most versatile use of Virtual Reality technology. In total-immersion simulation, we need a headset and a motion detector to simulate all the senses of the user. Total-immersion simulations provide very realistic user experience with a wide field of view, high resolution, higher updating rates (refresh rate) and high contrast.
The Virtual Reality is the re-creation of the virtual environment, which we expose to our senses in the way the environment is experienced as a real and we get a sense of presence. It uses technologies that make it possible to achieve this goal, but at the same time, it is a complicated achievement that must take into account our perception and recognition. It can be used for entertainment or professionally. The future with the use of Virtual Reality becomes different and changes our perception of the world.