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Virtual reality, what is it?

Virtual Reality, VR, virtual reality… So many names for a technique born over 80 years ago! At Earthlings, we put 3D uses and all innovative technologies at the service of architecture. Today at the forefront of topics such as augmented reality and virtual reality, we are looking at the beginnings of these techniques. To see more clearly, with or without a helmet!

But, what are we talking about ?

Before we delve into how it works, let's try to explore together the various definitions of virtual reality.

According to the dictionnary, the virtual concerns the simulation of a real environment by three-dimensional computer-generated images.

According to wikipedia, "virtual reality" (or immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality) typically refers to computer technology that simulates the physical presence of a user in an environment artificially generated by software.

When we talk about virtual reality, it can mean a more or less exact reproduction of the real world but also of a totally imaginary universe. The experience is visual, aural and, in some cases, haptic (via touch) with feedback being produced.

It is ultimately a real interaction with this real environment, reproduced virtually!

Simulate and stimulate the senses via virtual reality

Simulate? Simulation of the senses, most often sight, but also touch, hearing and smell. Via this "artificial" simulation of the senses, a person is allowed to have an immersive experience and to practice a real senso-motor activity in an artificial world.

How? 'Or' What ? The only way to guarantee total immersion is to use a virtual reality headset. So it would seem that the functioning of virtual reality has everything to do with the functioning of the virtual reality headset.

How virtual reality and the VR headset work

All virtual reality headsets use the principle of the stereoscopic 3D display to place the viewer in a virtual machine-generated world.

But how do we get here?

Everything starts from a computer

To create virtual reality, it is necessary to use a computer that will produce a three-dimensional simulation of a world that the user can navigate and manipulate and that will give him the feeling of being immersed in this world.

It is therefore necessary to use the following elements:

  • 3D images created and "edited" (like in a movie) from the user's different perspectives.

  • The ability to follow certain movements of the user (mainly head and eyes).

  • The ability to adapt the 3D environment to these perspectives and to the user's movements.

How does a VR headset work ?

To make virtual reality a reality, the scientist first created entire rooms incorporating elements of the original environment (such as airplane cockpits). Then, with the miniaturization of display technologies and the advancement of computing, virtual reality headsets made their appearance.

Concretely, a virtual reality headset is a miniature screen placed on the nose, which displays over its entire surface, with a 180 ° field of vision, 3D images giving the impression of actually being in this room.

The helmet encompasses the entire field of vision and projects a small image for each eye. But it's the brain that brings them together to transform them into a 3D vision. In addition, the lenses of the headphones amplify the image so that the images fill the entire field of view.

And in order to amplify the feeling of immersion, the software adapts the image according to the movements of the head and the eyes.

Did you know ?

Virtual reality displays moving images at 90 images per second or even sometimes 120 (against 30 images per second for television for example). And the higher the display speed, the more you will feel immersed in a real world.

Come and discover virtual reality in the service of architecture, at Earthlings!

Source : Futura Tech

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