Phones. Computers. Tablets.
Many fail to realize all the years of innovation and ingenuity that go into everyday items. For instance, have you ever wondered how that little cardboard gizmo you’re holding in your hands came about?
It has been said that those who know the past have the power to shape the future. By having a thorough grasp of the evolution of things, one gains enough insight to steer ahead. So to fully understand the Virtual Reality that we enjoy today, we need to see its roots. Let’s travel back through time and take look at the many permutations of VR devices through the years.
VR history 101 is now in session.
Insurgence and Resurgence
One common misconception about VR is that it is “new”. While it does seem like a contemporary concept—thanks to innovators over the years—this isn’t exactly the case. In fact, it's been around for decades. Even though the term Virtual Reality was coined back in the 1980’s (By Jaron Lanier) the concept in itself was already around as early as the 1950’s.
It was, however, unfortunate that much of its potential when it was first introduced went largely unrealized—in large part due to the lack of technological advancements available. The oftentimes mediocre graphics were too much for users to ignore and to fully buy into a supposed “fully immersive” experience. Like many things in life, it’s all a matter of opportunity and timing. And the timing was just not right so much of the hoopla surrounding virtual reality died down, leaving it relatively out of mainstream culture.
Thanks to better graphics technology, VR steadily built up steam until it gained enough of momentum akin to a runaway freight train the past few years.
Evolution and Revolution
Revolutionary cinematographer Morton Heilig pioneered this console that featured moving chairs, odor emitters, and stereo speakers as well as stereoscopic displays to upgrade the usual viewing experience. It was thus touted the “Cinema of the Future”.
Headsight was a helmet that had a video screen and a tracking system and was used by engineers for remote operations in dangerous locations. It operated via a closed camera circuit system.
Ultimate Display (1965)
With the Ultimate Display, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland was able to place users in a virtual world. Being that hardware didn’t come in small packages as it does today, the computer connected to the HMD (head-mounted display) looked more like a contraption straight out of a sci-fi flick.
1982 was the year VR went to Hollywood. Though it didn’t make VR available to the public, it gave viewers a good view of things to come.
Virtuality Group (1991)
Virtuality Group brought virtual reality to a new generation in the form of special arcade machines. It took VR to a whole new level with upgraded graphics and 3D versions of classic games such as Pac-Man.
Sega VR (1993)
Major video game console maker Sega unveiled its VR wrap-around glasses at the Consumer Electronics Show. Strangely enough, it never hit the shelves. In a few years, however, Nintendo’s Virtual Boy did break through to the market but eventually crashed and burned due to lackluster reception.
Project Morpheus (2014)
With better graphics available, virtual reality received a new lease on life. Even the giants at Sony hopped on the VR bandwagon with their own VR headset for their PlayStation gaming console.
Google Cardboard (2014)
With other VR devices in the market wearing price tags that are a little too out of reach, the wonderful folks at Google took a radically simplistic approach and brought VR technology to the masses.
Being one of the more accessible (and very much affordable) VR gadgets in the market, we can see why Google Cardboard has risen to prominence to become one of the top figures in the Virtual Reality game. And with I Am Cardboard, you need not worry about getting left behind in the VR revolution. By simply donning a visor, you can plunge deep and realize practically any alternative reality.