I have always been attracted to the idea of alternative or “Virtual” worlds since I was a child. A longstanding but very vivid memory I have as a kid was talking to my dad in the evening next to an open fire, sitting around that fire would spark off all types of conversations about UFO’s Ghosts, and generally anything that you would find in any unexplained or paranormal book on a shelf.
One evening I asked my dad “Dad how do I know that I am actually sat here in this room…? How do I know that I am not somewhere else and that I am programmed to stop the full extent of my arm as soon as I hit the fireplace and told to feel the sense of touch and stop at that point, from some form of programme
In essence I was describing to my dad an experience in Virtual Reality in this life, be it a super photoreal form of the virtual world in which I was sat.
And this is an interesting point because I am part of the generation that saw the birth of computer games and I have seen them develop and mature from the basic LCD Donkey Kong to 8, 16 and 32 bit graphics from Mega drive to Atari ST, the birth of the personal computer all the way up to the high-end quality of graphics that we see today in the Call of Duty or Battlefield franchises.
Virtual Reality has been around for years in different forms and the latest tech which is centred around wearable was first developed in 1968 when Ivan Sutherland created the Ultimate Display, a head mounted display that was so heavy that it had to be suspended to support the sheer weight of the device in order for the user to actually use it.
Advances in technology means the hardware has got to a point where the technology has become an accepted extension of wearable, something we would not be put off by wearing to experience it. The graphics too are at a point where the blend of visuals and UX blends succinctly.
Virtual reality in an experience that creates feelings in the user that mimic the real world in which we see and interact. This experience is heightened by the presence of visually rich graphics, although is not limited by the ever expansion of rich graphics.
Take Minecraft for example, a completely stylised world, although we might dismiss feeling at home in a world like this, if the technology allows us to seamlessly interact with ease in this environment and we feel the same sense of movement as we would in the real world then its logical for us to feel at home even if the visuals change because your senses are saying to you that this actually feels, and looks like how I would imagine being in this place, increasing the photoreal of this world gives the brain something visually to relate this to.
Our sensual experience in VR s increased when the subtleties in the experience are seamless with our interactions as a user in the way we see, respond and interact with the information that we are seeing, very much in the same way that driving a car is a mechanism of movement for us as individuals, VR will become a second nature especially as the hardware decreases in size and scale in future versions of the technology.
VR technology breaks through the screen to place you in the centre of the action of the world that you are in to explore, create and find new fascinations which pushes boundaries in our emotions and senses that allows you to refer to VR as a place to go back and revisit, this subconscious thought on referring the experience to a place already means that your senses have been tricked, that you have experienced something special, and its referring to the experience and associating it as a place that makes this exciting.
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