Virtual reality is a world created by the means of programming based on computer technology. It is an imitation of the real world via computer graphics. The means of immersion in this virtual reality is called virtual technologies. Every year it is used in more and more areas, ranging from 3D games and livecasinos to science and medicine.
Virtual technologies today include virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies (VR, AR and MR technologies), as well as 3D stereoscopic technologies. All these technologies imply that the user sees a 3D stereoscopic, three-dimensional image. The basic principle of forming this 3D image is to display a separate image for each eye. At the same time, two images differ from each other by a small angle of view. It makes it possible for our brain to create one three-dimensional stereoscopic image.
3D stereoscopic technology is a technology of collective immersion. It means that all viewers see the same three-dimensional image, which makes it applicable in many areas. For example, as a collective educational tool. Among other virtual technologies, CAVE systems are only a collective tool. All others are individual tools, which impose certain restrictions on their use.
Virtual reality (VR, English Virtual reality) is a virtual world created by technical means and transmitted to a person through sensations. VR cuts off a person from the real world, immersing him in the virtual world. To achieve the immersive effect, which is also called immersiveness, you need special devices – VR glasses, helmets, gloves, headphones. They provide the user the maximum effect of presence. When using VR technology, a person sees a drawn or designed picture.
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that complements the real world with various virtual objects. AR glasses, smartphones and tablets are used to create augmented reality. The earliest and most famous use of augmented reality was Pokémon GO, released by Nintendo. In this game, you use a smartphone or tablet with GPS and need to find a Pokémon that appeared on the screen. You will see it only if you’re staying at the same place in real life. Once it was released, in 1 week the game had become insanely popular. The number of installations through Google Play exceeded 10 million. In this case, a virtual picture superimposed on the real world does not give an interaction between them.
Recently, such a concept as mixed reality (MR) has appeared, which is also called sometimes a hybrid reality. It means a mixture of the real environment and virtual reality. In combination between the virtual and real world, it creates new environments and visualizations. In it real and virtual objects are interacting with each other in real time. The fundamental difference between MR and VR and AR is that in mixed reality there is a point of contact between real and virtual objects.
In general, the application of all virtual technology types can be divided into entertainment, communication, scientific and industrial. For example, in amusement parks, live casino games and computer games, the usage of VR aims to create emotions and experiences.
In the scientific realm, these technologies allow to immerse in areas that were before inaccessible. In business processes, the necessary communication and visualization are replacing personal meetings and visits to the objects.