The word Virtual Reality, abbreviated as VR, is used to refer to a digital environment created with a computer, that simulates the real environment and that is channeled to our senses through the use of consoles that allow a real-time integration with what is produced in that world.
Already since the middle of the XX century, the American director Morton Heiling created Sensorama, a machine to be used to immerse the spectator in the cinematographic experience and that would involve all senses. This was a very innovative idea, perhaps even too much for that time, in fact the word Virtual Reality was created only in 1989, year in which the American Jason Lanier founded the VPL Research, a research on the virtual programming languages.
Throughout the years the research in this field has continued and at the beginning of the XXI century Virtual Reality has made huge progresses, also thanks to the large investments mainly from the videogame world.
Today this is already a market that is worth a billion dollars and, thanks to the growing interest towards this sector, it is expected that it will continue growing and it will get to more than 120 billion dollars in few years.
The world of Virtual Reality is essentially divided in “immersive” and “non-immersive”.
Nowadays the research is focusing increasingly on the immersive side of the VR, and as a result the following items have been already developed: viewers, screens placed close to the eyes that completely annul the external world from the user’s visual and try to reproduce the virtual environment; headphones to transmit sounds to the user; and controllers, joysticks like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, that allow the user to give commands and that give to movements a higher fluidity by simulating real movements and giving the user the opportunity to collect and interact with objects that are placed in the virtual environment.
In regard to non-immersive VR, the environment is indeed digitally reproduced, but the emotional impact on the subject is lower in comparison with an immersive reality, due to the quality of the viewers and the lack of an incorporated hearing system; an example is Samsung Gear VR, tool that makes it possible to use one’s smartphone as a screen.
This shows how VR has become increasingly common and aims at becoming in the future an omnipresent tool in people’s life.
This great diffusion of VR has made possible its implementation also in fields that would seem to have nothing to do with it, such as the medical or the architecture and even the fashion field, which are in fact examples of the numerous sectors that have experimented and implemented the use of this innovative technology.