Virtual reality

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What is virtual reality? Introduction and definition of virtual reality


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What is virtual reality?

One of the many forms that belong to the group of augmented reality (XR) and probably the most famous and available to users today is virtual reality, abbreviated VR (from “virtual reality”). VR technology allows you to create virtual environments that seem almost real. These worlds provide a fairly real sense of movement and communication with the world and other people who are in it.

Interest in virtual reality is currently on the rise, with an annual growth rate forecast of 48.7% between 2021 and 2026. (Source: Mordor Intelligence). Virtual reality promises the ability to bridge physical distances between people and create communal virtual spaces that are mostly safer and more flexible than the real world.

Definition of virtual reality

Virtual reality or VR is a term used to describe technologies that allow interactions with virtual, digital worlds. With VR, developers can create a variety of experiences that are almost or completely impossible to experience in the real world.

Accessing virtual reality is a bit more demanding than, say, augmented reality (AR). You can use AR via your smartphone and it is very likely that you have already used it without even knowing that it is a refined reality. Virtual reality relies on VR headsets and controllers to be able to interact with the virtual world you’re in. The better your VR headset is equipped with better technology, the better and more immersive your VR experience will be. But, as it usually happens, quality comes, in the case of some VR headsets, with quite hefty prices.

In recent years, VR headsets have evolved from clumsy and large devices that require constant connection to a computer into standalone, lightweight devices whose purpose is to provide a more comfortable and free VR experience. These devices allow you to enter pervasive virtual worlds built using computer software. Once you’re in one such world, the VR hedset and controllers record your movements and transfer from to software, which mimics them in the virtual world.

In order for a particular VR hedset to be successful and provide the best possible experience, great precision is required in creating software and hardware combined with the comfort and ergonomics of the device itself.

A brief history of virtual reality

It is difficult to say for sure when the first ideas of virtual reality were born, but it is certainly not a modern concept. The first VR devices appeared in the 1970s and were made for NASA’ needs. However, it can be safely said that the latest rise in the popularity of VR started with the appearance of the first prototypes of the Oculus Rift headset that appeared at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2012. It wasn’t until 2016, after nearly a century of fantasizing and experimentation, that virtual reality began to be seen as a product that was truly ready for wider, not only industrial but also private use.

The first wave of VR headsets was launched by HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. These are hedsets that require a connection to a computer in order to work. Even console manufacturers have made VR hedsets intended for their consoles, for example PlayStation VR. But regardless of the fact that when these hedsets were launched, they were revolutionary devices, there was plenty of room for improvement. Soon after, new innovations followed.

The first standalone VR headsets began to hit the market in 2018 and until 2021. VR technology has ceased to be just a futuristic concept and has become mainstream technology accessible to everyone. Today’s devices are truly impressive. They are characterized by low weight, comfort and a variety of innovative applications that can be accessed with them. Also, we are slowly beginning to see how useful virtual reality can be in the right environment, and not just for games. Today, many companies are investing in VR technology, and new innovations are constantly on the horizon.

Experiencing virtual reality

New ways to make virtual reality as immersive as possible and provide users with the highest quality experience are still being discovered day by day. But one thing is certain: To access virtual reality, we need hedsets and controllers. However, the development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, new sensors, spatially oriented sound (sound comes from all directions, as in reality) promises the development of new virtual worlds with incredible depth and detail.

When we talk about breakthrough VR technology, then it’s not enough to look at VR as just a hedset that we put on our heads and use it to walk around an artificially created world. The real “immersion” i.e. Permeation means putting people in a place where they are completely surrounded by virtual scenes and sounds.

Also, when we talk about virtual reality, we should consider psychology. As a good example, we can take the field of view. The human field of view is almost 180° wide and does not look like a screen frame, it does not have an explicit “edge”. This is why the field of vision is one of the most important things that are invested in when it comes to VR technology.

If virtual reality manages to connect software and hardware aspects successfully with sensory aspects (primarily think of vision, hearing, possibly touch, smell and taste in the future), only then can we talk about creating a real pervasive, immersive experience.

Once a good level of immersion is achieved, then virtual reality becomes supple for a large array of tasks and can be used in a bunch of ways.

Use of virtual reality

Training and education

With VR, people can step into virtually simulated environments where they can test their skills and the specific knowledge they need for their job and they can do so completely safely. This use of VR is considered extremely useful when it comes to dangerous jobs such as engineering, military and other similarly dangerous professions and occupations in which it is not possible to go wrong without major consequences, such as medicine.

Advertising and demonstration

Virtual reality can serve various companies as a medium for advertising and demonstrating products to potential customers. Companies can create their own virtual stores where they can give various presentations about their products and demonstrations thereof. There’s even room for VR in customer support, as a medium for employees to explain to users how to use or even repair a product they’re having trouble with.

Entertainment and entertainment

One of the first branches in which VR developed. A lot of the initial development of VR technologies came from the gaming industry. In the future, we will certainly see much more experimentation in this area. For example, with more immersive games, movies, organized get-togethers and events and the like.

Business cooperation

VR also plays a role in the business world. With the help of virtual reality, people can remotely collaborate in a shared virtual world, work on joint projects and the like. And all this without the need to be in the same place. This is truly a huge step beyond video conferencing, as it provides an increased sense of presence to employees.

Travel and tourism

Many travel and travel agencies have started investing in VR technology during the pandemic to allow their users to visit the destination they want to travel to before deciding if they really want to go there. Although virtual reality travel can hardly replace real travel, it is definitely a very interesting way to visit new places. For example, it is possible to experience the beauty of Trogir from the comfort of your own home, and perhaps these scenes encourage you to travel there yourself. This, of course, applies to any destination in the world and gives you the opportunity to choose a destination more easily and even better adapt the trip to your preferences.


In virtual reality, inventors and innovators can experiment with digital duals of the objects and products they deal with, can refine them, combine various materials and try new ideas without worrying about additional cost and creating additional waste.

Does virtual reality have a future?

Virtual reality, like most technologies that are part of augmented reality, is undergoing a period of extremely rapid transformation and growth. As these transformations take place, especially in digital terms of VR, so creators of virtual worlds and experiences regularly achieve amazing new results.

When it comes to the software part of virtual reality, VR with additional AI (aritificial intelligence, artificial intelligence) has helped create a new generation of VR experiences. By bringing AI algorithms into VR applications, it’s easier for software to determine exactly what kind of interactions and what kind of experiences people want in virtual reality. This allows you to create more realistic and immersive experiences.

“Computer vision” is an example of such software improvement of VR. “computer vision” allows monitoring of eyes, hands and movements in order to map human movements as realistically as possible. With the help of this technology, it is possible to simulate interactions with virtual objects as best as possible, making virtual reality more realistic and immersive.

As for the hardware part of virtual reality, companies are constantly improving their VR devices, making them lighter, higher-quality and increasing their level of freedom of movement, as the movements in VR were as similar to reality as possible.

Leading VR companies are already experimenting with 8K screens and new headset designs that would push VR devices higher towards the domain of smart glasses. Add to this the rise in algorithm intelligence, fast 5G connections, and greater freedom in building VR applications and it’s very easy to see how virtual reality has a secure and bright future.

As VR products become smaller, more mobile and cheaper, virtual reality ceases to be seen as something new and revolutionary and begins to be seen as something mainstream and everyday present. A very similar process happened to computers when their wider use had just begun.

What might the future of virtual reality look like?

It’s hard to say how virtual reality could evolve and where the future might take us. Especially since the VR industry began to develop rapidly. Today, virtual reality is increasingly beginning to be seen as a powerful commercial tool, rather than just another source of entertainment and entertainment. In addition to games, virtual reality has also shown possible application in other various fields such as education, innovation and the like.

Moreover, many companies are convinced that virtual reality represents the future of collaboration. But the great thing is that every company seems to have its own idea and vision of what virtual reality will become. If companies learn to create truly good and pervasive VR experiences, we could truly experience a future where the metaverse is the new environment for creativity, leisure and business.