Know a Little more about Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality | San Jose Public Library
  • Head-Mounted Display (HMD): A head-mounted display (HMD) is a wearable device that is worn on the head, covering the eyes and sometimes the ears, to provide a virtual reality experience. It typically consists of one or two screens or displays, lenses to focus the image, and built-in sensors to track the user’s head movements. The HMD creates a stereoscopic 3D view, presenting a different image to each eye to create a sense of depth and immersion. Some HMDs also incorporate built-in audio to enhance the virtual experience. HMDs come in various forms, ranging from standalone devices to those that require a connection to a computer or gaming console.
  • Immersion: Immersion in virtual reality refers to the extent to which the user feels mentally and emotionally engaged in the virtual environment. The goal of VR is to create a high level of immersion by providing realistic and convincing sensory experiences that trick the user’s senses. This includes visual and auditory stimuli that replicate real-world experiences, as well as haptic feedback and motion tracking that allow users to interact with and explore the virtual environment. The more immersive the VR experience, the more it feels like the user is truly present in the virtual world, enhancing the sense of escapism and engagement.
  • 360-Degree Videos: 360-degree videos are recordings that capture a panoramic view of the surroundings in all directions. They allow viewers to look around and explore the environment as if they were physically present. These videos are typically captured using specialized cameras or rigs equipped with multiple lenses, which capture a full spherical view. When viewed in VR, the user can move their head or change their viewing angle to explore different perspectives within the video. 360-degree videos are commonly used in virtual tours, documentaries, and immersive storytelling experiences.
  • Room-Scale VR: Room-scale VR refers to a VR experience that allows users to move around and interact within a physical space while wearing an HMD. It typically involves the use of external sensors, such as cameras or laser trackers, to track the user’s movements in real time. This tracking information is then used to adjust the virtual environment accordingly, enabling the user to navigate and explore the virtual space by physically walking or moving around. Room-scale VR provides a more immersive and natural experience, allowing users to freely explore and interact with the virtual world.
  • Motion Tracking: Motion tracking is a technology used in VR to detect and track the movements of the user’s body or specific body parts. It enables the user’s physical movements to be translated into corresponding actions within the virtual environment. Motion tracking can be achieved through various methods, including optical tracking using cameras, inertial tracking using sensors, or a combination of both. By accurately capturing and replicating the user’s movements, motion tracking enhances the level of interactivity and realism in VR experiences. It enables actions such as hand gestures, full-body movements, and object manipulation within the virtual world.
  • Haptic Feedback: Haptic feedback in VR refers to the use of tactile sensations to provide users with a sense of touch or physical feedback in response to their interactions with the virtual environment. Haptic feedback devices, such as haptic gloves, controllers, or vests, are equipped with sensors, actuators, or vibration motors that can simulate the sensation of touch or force. These devices can provide feedback such as vibrations, pressure, or resistance, allowing users to feel virtual objects, textures, or interactions. Haptic feedback enhances the sense of presence and realism in VR, making the experience more immersive and engaging.
  • Presence: Presence in VR refers to the feeling of being fully present and mentally immersed in the virtual environment. It is the sense of “being there” and feeling connected to the virtual world as if it were real. Achieving a sense of presence is a key goal in VR development. Factors that contribute to presence include the quality of the visual and auditory stimuli, the level of interactivity and responsiveness, the absence of distractions, and the overall believability of the virtual world. When users experience a strong sense of presence, they tend to have a heightened emotional and cognitive engagement with the VR content.
  • Telepresence: Telepresence in VR refers to the ability to feel as if you are physically present in a remote location or interacting with other people in real time, even though you may be physically separated. Through VR, users can share virtual spaces, engage in collaborative activities, or attend events together, regardless of their physical locations. Telepresence can be achieved by combining live video feeds, real-time audio communication, and shared virtual environments. It has applications in fields such as remote work, teleconferencing, virtual meetings, social VR, and remote education, enabling people to interact and connect as if they were physically present.
  • VR Simulation: VR simulations recreate real-world scenarios or experiences in a virtual environment. They provide users with a safe and controlled setting to practice, learn, or explore without the associated risks or costs of real-world situations. VR simulations are widely used in various fields, including training and education, healthcare, architecture and design, and entertainment. For example, flight simulators allow pilots to train in realistic virtual environments, medical simulations provide healthcare professionals with realistic patient scenarios for training, and architectural visualizations enable designers to walk through virtual representations of buildings or spaces before construction.
  • VR Locomotion: VR locomotion techniques involve methods used to simulate movement within the virtual environment. Traditional methods of locomotion in VR include teleportation, where the user can instantly move from one location to another, and smooth locomotion, where the user moves through the virtual space using a controller or physical walking. More recent locomotion techniques, such as redirected walking, enable users to navigate larger virtual spaces by subtly altering their perception of movement while physically remaining in a limited physical space. Locomotion techniques aim to provide users with a comfortable and natural way to explore and navigate virtual environments, minimizing discomfort or motion sickness.

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