What is VR?

This article provides a definition of VR (Virtual Reality): What is VR? In this introduction we try to show what VR really is.


What is VR: A definition of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) makes it possible to project images in three dimensions. For example, you can walk through an exotic landscape with VR or mimic an operation through a serious game as if it were real. Your senses are given a non-existent reality. It is not possible to look through the headset; instead of transparent glasses, there are screens that project the virtual world on your retina. This world can be made up of camera images or computer animations. Because your movements are followed, you can look or walk around, and interact with objects in the virtual world.

VR enables you create a virtual world that is barely different from reality. The feeling of being present in a virtual world is therefore central to the experience. VR offers you the ability to perform tasks and tests within this virtual world, which can be adapted to the individual’s characteristics and needs.

What is VR (Virtual Reality): An introduction to VR


What is VR: The use of sensors

Through sensors in controllers and cameras, consoles and PCs allow for exergaming, so that exercises can be performed and recorded. VR systems also work with sensors. These sensor tracking systems are a crucial part of a VR system. Usually, a head tracker ensures that the user’s field of view can be registered. This causes the image to move when looking up, down or side, or when the angle of the head changes. Commonly used sensors include gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers. In addition, to measure movements of the head and eyes, cameras and eye trackers can be used.


What is VR: The tracking of movements

However, the use of sensors at Virtual Reality (VR) does not stop with the head; there are motion trackers for each body part, such as hands and legs. Many of these sensors work with a combination of tracking in the headset and external sensors in the room. For this purpose, infrared sensors, controllers or cameras can be used. However, there are many more ways to track positions, as well as using magnets and acoustics. Experiments are also being carried out with, among other things, treadmills and bodysuits.


What is VR: The future of VR

Body tracking with sensors can include movements like jumping and bending, but fine motor skills can also be recorded. This allows completely new VR applications, which allows for interaction with (objects in) the virtual world. In addition, combinations with haptic feedback can be made, so the user actually feels it when he picks up a virtual object and even experience the texture of it. Using a camera or bodysuit eliminates the need for a traditional controller; the person becomes the controller as it were.

This article is part of a series.

Read more:

Part 1 – What is AI (Artificial Intelligence): An introduction
Part 3 – What is AR (Augmented Reality): An introduction
Part 4 – What is a smart city: An introduction
Part 5 – Machine learning, neural networks and deep learning explained
Part 6 – What is machine learning: An introduction
Part 7 – What is a neural network: An introduction
Part 8 – What is deep learning: An introduction
Part 9 – What are serious games: An introduction
Part 10 – What is the IoT (Internet of Things): An introduction
Part 11 – How do smart devices work: sensors, IoT, Big Data and AI
Part 12 – What is climate change: An introduction

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