Image of an animated character used in virtual reality named Comet.

What is Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual Reality (VR) is an environment that is artificial. It has been created with software that then allows it to be presented to the user in a form that appears to be real. The user has to suspend belief and accept it as a real environment. From a computer perspective, VR is typically experienced through the use of two of our five senses. That is sound and sight.

In terms of VR that is in a simple form would be a 3D image that the user can explore in an interactive fashion. Be it by keys to move direction around the image or to zoom in and out. Lately, there has been some advances in the approach to such systems. We now have wrap around display screens, or in the home curved television screens to help with an immersive experience. There are also actual rooms that are augmented with wearable VR computers and also haptics devices which actually allow you to feel the display images.

VR can essentially be divided into two key areas:

  • To simulate a real life environment for the purposes of training or education.
  • To develop an environment that is to be imagined for an interactive story or a game.

Now for the more technical side, obviously the form of VR will have a coding language which is called The Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML). This language allows creators to specify images and follow a set of rules for the display and how the user will interact. This is all controlled using coding in the form of textual language statements – similar to many other computer languages.

Video Explaining Virtual Reality

Take a look at Marques Brownlee video on YouTube that explains a little bit about VR headsets that you can actually buy. There are currently two types, one that is a complete headset and the other is a device that your smartphone will slot into and with some software this mimics the form of VR that the other headsets provide.

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