A CDE Definition
A computer-generated reality that projects the user into a 3D space. Using a stereoscopic headset that provides a completely immersive experience, the virtual reality (VR) system is operated by the user's head and hand movements or a physical control unit, the latter commonly used with virtual reality games. In the early days of VR, data gloves tethered by wires to a computer were used to track hand gestures.
The very first virtual reality systems were created for pilot and astronaut training, employing a physical housing that looks like the inside of a cockpit. Extremely costly and still being used, they provide a totally realistic experience that simulates taking off, flying and landing (see flight simulator).
Like Real Life
When people wear ordinary 2D or 3D goggles, turning their head horizontally or vertically changes nothing (see video headphones). However, just as in real life, when people move their head with a VR headset, the view changes. VR headsets are either entirely self-contained units or a device into which the user's smartphone is inserted (see VR headset, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Daydream VR and Google Cardboard).
Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality
"Virtual" reality is an entirely generated environment, whereas "augmented" reality creates images or video in space in front of the user or off to the side (see augmented reality). See social VR, 3D visualization, virtual world, head mounted display, 6DOF, cyberspace, VRML and Second Life.
VR at the Dentist
Spatially Immersive Systems
Virtual Reality in the 1950s
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