Brief History of the Future (VR has Actually Been Around for More Than 100 Years)

Brief History of the Future (VR has Actually Been Around for More Than 100 Years)

History of VR 

The exact origins of virtual reality are disputed, partly because of no exact definition in the past.  The first references to the more modern concept of virtual reality came from science fiction.

Brief Key Events 

1838 – Stereoscopic photos & viewers

In 1838 Charles Wheatstone’s research demonstrated that the brain processes the different two-dimensional images from each eye into a single object of three dimensions. Viewing two side by side stereoscopic images or photos through a stereoscope gave the user a sense of depth and immersion. The later development of the popular View-Master stereoscope (patented 1939), was used for “virtual tourism”. The design principles of the Stereoscope are used today for the popular Google Cardboard and low budget VR head mounted displays for mobile phones.

View-Master, a stereoscopic visual simulator, was introduced in 1939


1960 – The first VR Head Mounted Display

Telesphere Mask was invented (patented 1960) and was the first example of a head-mounted display (HMD), though for the non-interactive film medium without any motion tracking. The headset provided stereoscopic 3D and wide vision with stereo sound.

From the 1970s to 1990s, the virtual reality industry mainly provided VR devices for medical, flight simulation, automobile industry design, and military training purposes.

1989 – NASA Gets Into VR
NASA, with the help of Crystal River Engineering, created Project VIEW which was used to train astronauts. VIEW looks recognisable as a modern example of VR and features gloves for fine simulation of touch interaction. Interestingly, the technology in these gloves leads directly to the creation of the Nintendo Power Glove.

A VPL Research DataSuit, a full-body outfit with sensors for measuring the movement of arms, legs, and trunk. Developed circa 1989. Displayed at the Nissho Iwai showroom in Tokyo

NASA Ames's 1985 VIEW headset

1991 – Virtuality Group Arcade Machines

We began to see virtual reality devices to which the public had access, although household ownership of cutting edge virtual reality was still far out of reach. The Virtuality Group launched a range of arcade games and machines. Players would wear a set of VR goggles and play on gaming machines with realtime immersive stereoscopic 3D visuals. Some units were also networked together for a multi-player gaming experience.

2007 – Google Brings Us Street View
Google enhanced its Maps service with street-level 360-degree images, captured by special cars fitted with custom camera equipment. Immersive Media did the work using a dodecahedral camera of their own design.

2010 – Street View Goes 3D and the Oculus is Prototyped
Just a few years later, Street View gets a 3D mode, but much bigger news in the history of VR is the work being done by a young man known as Palmer Lucky. He’s created a kit VR headset that anyone can make, but a fateful meeting with computer legend John Carmack puts him on the path to taking his “Oculus Rift” bigger than he could have imagined.

2012 – The Oculus Kickstarter
Palmer Lucky launches a Kickstarter to fund the product and development of his prototype headset, the Rift. The campaign raises almost 2.5 million dollars and is a clear dividing line between the commercial failures of consumer VR in the past and the modern VR revolution.

2018 – The Half-dome HMD is Announced
Oculus shows off a new HMD prototype known as the “half dome”. This advanced headset uses varifocal lenses and an extremely wide field of view, at 140 degrees.

Over time mankind has been slowly but surely creating ever richer ways to stimulate our senses. Things really began to take off in the 20th century, with the advent of electronics and computer technology.

Today, VR is easily accessible, bringing a brand new different experience to everyone. In New World Carnival, more than 20 VR Games to choose from and there will be a launch of new games almost every month.

New World Carnival also has wide space and numerous VR Rooms make it friendly for team bonding and corporate events.

Any enquiries? Contact us here.


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