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The Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Reality (V.R.)

Exploring the influence and history of Virtual Reality

Blake Caylor, Reporter

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Virtual Reality (V.R.) is a technology that has been building momentum since its inception, gaining the support of even Mark Zuckerberg (Co-founder of Facebook). However, the start of V.R. was not so graceful.

While the definition of virtual reality varies from source to source, the definition I choose to use is: “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment” (Merriam-Webster).

One of the first widely and commercially available V.R. devices was the Virtual Boy. Even though it helped pioneer a new tech, it was a magnificent failure. Developed by Nintendo, the Virtual Boy was released on August 16th 1995 (in North America). Its lifespan was not even one year long, and it sold an abysmal 770,000 units worldwide. Not to mention the Virtual Boy only had two colors it could display: Red, and Black. To create “3D” visuals, it used Parallax screens, which went on to be used in the Nintendo 3DS. Needless to say, the Virtual Boy was a colossal flop.

Without the Virtual Boy to show us how NOT to do V.R., we probably would not have progressed the technology as far as we have today. Speaking of newer, better, technologies, The HTC Vive is a current V.R. headset that is changing how we use V.R. altogether. The Vive was developed by HTC (the phone company) in partnership with Valve Corporation. Valve is the company that created Steam, which is the biggest and most successful gaming platform on PC, Mac, and Linux. With their massive library of games and software, Valve integrated V.R. support with their platform and continues to release ton of new content for V.R. users everyday. As for the headset itself, it requires a large empty space for use. Despite that, every other aspect of the headset achieves satisfaction.

V.R. is not just for gaming. Recently, Companies such as Walmart and even KFC are using this emerging tech to train their employees. Walmart is using V.R. to train employees for black friday. To do this they created a program where the user has to direct customers. Another example of V.R. Training is the Kentucky Fried Chicken program that shows users how to correctly fry the chicken. Additionally, the U.S. military uses V.R. to train soldiers on how to properly use a parachute and how to operate vehicles and weaponry.

Click here for more information on V.R.

1 Comment

One Response to “The Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Reality (V.R.)”

  1. Mr. Keenan on December 5th, 2017 7:05 am

    Virtual reality is a fast emerging and very interesting topic! I remember playing a friend’s Virtual Boy back in ’95… it was fun to try, but this article sums up the overall quality of game play it offered quite well. I am looking forward to trying the new technology that Blake discusses in the near future!

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