What do you think of when you hear the words virtual reality (VR)?
Do you imagine someone wearing a clunky helmet attached to a computer with a thick cable? Or do you wince at the term, wishing it would just go away?
In multiple industries ranging from education, communication, entertainment to design, defense and scientific research, Virtual Reality has now been established in various industries and sectors. The environment of virtual reality helps the user to feel the property of “immersion”.
This property allows the user to feel being in and the part of the world. When you really become unaware or the present surroundings and just focus on the happenings inside the virtual environment, then, you have an effective Virtual Reality experience. The experience of a virtual reality environment has a wide breadth of information if it stimulates our senses. Whenever the user is exploring the environment, the VE should adjust in real time.
Passive haptics are the real objects existing in the real physical space which are mapped to the virtual objects in the virtual space. Users wear an HMD or a similar portable device when they are in the physical space. As they approach the object and will try to touch it, they will experience the object in the physical space. Whatever the user does with object in the real space, that gets reflected upon the virtual object in the virtual space.
Immersion within a virtual environment is one thing, but for a user to feel truly involved there must also be an element of interaction. Early applications using the technology common in VE systems today allowed the user to have a relatively passive experience. Users could watch a pre-recorded film while wearing a head-mounted display (HMD). They would sit in a motion chair and watch the film as the system subjected them to various stimuli, such as blowing air on them to simulate wind.
While users felt a sense of immersion, interactivity was limited to shifting their point of view by looking around. Their path was pre-determined and unalterable. True interactivity also includes being able to modify the environment.
A good virtual environment will respond to the user’s actions in a way that makes sense, even if it only makes sense within the realm of the virtual environment. If a virtual environment changes in outlandish and unpredictable ways, it risks disrupting the user’s sense of telepresence.