Virtual Reality as Jaron Lanier Envisioned It.

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By PFLB
Words 2061
Pages 9
VR Essay

2. Virtual Reality as Lanier envisioned it has not eventuated, yet the desires he articulated live on. Discuss.

To discuss Lanier’s keen views and anticipations regarding Virtual Reality back in the mid 1980s, it would be useful to first cover exactly how far Virtual Reality has progressed up until today. This essay will begin by discussing the history of Virtual Reality and the usage trends. That discussion will then be used to preface a discussion about Lanier’s views that were expressed in A Vintage Virtual Reality Interview. The essay will then finish off by looking at particularly interesting views held by some of today’s futurists and these views will be related back to Lanier’s original exuberant view of Virtual Reality.

The idea of Virtual Reality has been around for decades. In fact, Virtual Reality has its roots back before Lanier was even born. Despite the public only becoming aware of Virtual Reality in the early 1990s, all the way back in the mid 1950s, a cinematographer going by the name of Morton Heilig had imagined a theatre experience that would attempt to appeal to every one of the audiences’ senses. He built a single viewing station in 1960, which he called ‘The Sensorama’. The Sensorama featured a stereoscopic display, odour emitters, fans, stereo speakers and a mechanical moving chair. He even invented a head-mounted television display that could show the user television in 3-D.

These ideas paved the way to the increasingly immersive experiences that resulted in what we call Virtual Reality. One could even argue that the invention of stereoscopic 3D film, back in the early-mid 1900s is an important precursor of the push to create an immersive, alternate reality.

In 1965, a computer scientist named Ivan Sutherland conceptualised a head mounted display (HMD) that he called ‘The Ultimate Display’. Through the use of this…...

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