Essay, Research Paper: Virtual Reality

Computers

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Reality is to trick the human senses, to help people believe and uphold
an illusion. Virtual reality engineers are space makers, to a certain degree
they create space for people to play around in. A space maker sets up a world
for an audience to act directly within, and not just so the audience can imagine
they are experiencing a reality, but so they can experience it directly.
"The film maker says, 'Look, I'll show you.' The space maker says, 'Here,
I'll help you discover.' However, what will the space maker help us
discover?" "Are virtual reality systems going to serve as supplements
to our lives, or will individuals so miserable in their daily existence find an
obsessive refuge in a preferred cyberspace? What is going to be included,
deleted, reformed, and revised? Will virtual reality systems be used as a means
of breaking down cultural, racial, and gender barriers between individuals and
thus nurture human values?" During this century, responsive technologies
are moving even closer to us, becoming the standard interface through which we
gain much of our experience. The ultimate result of living in a cybernetic world
may create an artificial global city. Instead of a global village, virtual
reality may create a global city, the distinction being that the city contains
enough people for groups to form affiliations, in which individuals from
different cultures meet together in the same space of virtual reality. The city
might be laid out according to a three dimensional environment that dictates the
way people living in different countries may come to communicate and understand
other cultures. A special camera, possibly consisting of many video cameras,
would capture and transmit every view of the remote locations. Viewers would
receive instant feedback as they turn their heads. Any number of people could be
looking through the same camera system. Although the example described here will
probably take many years to develop, its early evolution has been under way for
some time, with the steady march of technology moving from accessing information
toward providing experience. As well, it is probably still childish to imagine
the adoption of virtual reality systems on a massive scale because the starting
price to own one costs about $300,000. Virtual Reality is now available in games
and movies. An example of a virtual reality game is Escape From Castle
Wolfenstein. In it, you are looking through the eyes of an escaped POW from a
Nazi death camp. You must walk around in a maze of dungeons were you will
eventually fight Hitler. One example of a virtual reality movie is Stephen
King's The Lawnmower Man. It is about a mentally retarded man that uses virtual
reality as a means of overcoming his handicap and becoming smarter. He
eventually becomes crazy from his quest for power and goes into a computer. From
there he is able to control most of the world's computers. This movie ends with
us wondering if he will succeed in world domination. From all of this we have
learned that virtual reality is already playing an important part in our world.
Eventually, it will let us be able to date, live in other parts of the world
without leaving the comfort of our own living room, and more. Even though we are
quickly becoming a product of the world of virtual reality, we must not lose
touch with the world of reality. For reality is the most important part of our
lives. 
Bibliography 
Bains, S. "Surgeons Slice a Virtual Leg", New Scientist, Vol. 131,
Pg. 28, July 6, 1991 Baudrillard, J., The Ecstasy of Communication, Translated
by Bernard and Caroline Schutze, New York: Semiotext, 1987 Helsel, K. Virtual
Reality-Theory, Practice, and Promise London: British Library, 1991 Neira, C.
"The CAVE: Autovisual Experience Automatic Virtual Environment",
Communications of the ACM, vol. 35, pg. 65-72, summer 1992 Venkat, P.
"Integrating Virtual Reality", IEEE Transactions, vol. 36, pg. 35-38,
1991
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