How does virtual reality work?

How does virtual reality work?

How does virtual reality work?

Virtual Reality is one of those long-held science fiction dreams that is coming into reality, slowly and steadily. Since the last five years, virtual reality related tech and businesses have seen major traction in attracting investment and talent which is helping it get the new technology closer to the real life.

Virtual reality is a unique user interface that gives the user a three-dimensional sensory experience of sight, hearing and touch. All of these are generated using advanced computer-generated imagery and cutting-edge hardware equipment.

 To generate a realistic VR experience, two main components are required – a source for the content and a user device. In other words, tools to create a sensory-based experience and another set of tools to experience it in a different location.

VR tools should be able to offer realistic natural looking, high-quality imagery and have an ability to interact with that environment. Some of the key things required to make it happen are:

  1. High-resolution images
  2. A good field of view
  3. Excellent refresh rate
  4. Low latency motion sensors
  5. Great synchronisation in audio and video
  6. Hardware to run this all in cohesion

Apart from the getting all the technology right, the biggest stumbling block is the need to trick your brain. Virtual Reality’s biggest challenge is making your brain believe all you see is real and not just a digital projection.

 Although there are already hundreds of apps and devices available to sample virtual reality, there are still some frontiers to be conquered. For example, the human eye goes beyond the typical 110 degrees of view. The vision itself has two separate ways of perceiving things, i.e. peripheral vision senses movement while normal vision senses the picture in front. An ideal VR headset should be able to trick the eye.

A functional VR requires different types of devices like a headset, a PC or a mobile to generate the digital environment, a motion sensing device to relate you to the scene and handheld controllers to interact with the VR environment.

In most cases, they set the headset lenses at varying angles to convert the two-dimensional images in 3D. A high-speed cable like an HDMI transfers the digital content from the PC to the headset. The head tracking system inside the headset helps provide information about your movement to the software. By using other tools like accelerometer and gyroscope, the tools can plot your movement and provide you with the appropriate scenery. The whole system will have to have very low latency else your brain can recognise the lag.

The current motion tracking systems are still not good enough to provide a realistic experience. But as the VR systems evolve, we will get to experience better immersion in the simulations. The application of VR is vast and hence, it attracts a lot of funding, which in turn helps speed up the pace of innovation. All this will ultimately lead to the creation of an inexpensive VR experience.

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