Promising innovations that will improve the way we live and interact with the internet and our environment are on the rise on a daily basis.
Blockchain technology (for more secure data storage), Metaverse (a virtual world for users), Cryptocurrency (a decentralized financial system), the Internet of Things, Machine Learning to improve customer service, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence enabled workspaces are all examples of emerging technologies. These are some of the technological innovations that will change the way we process data and information.
Today we’ll look at what virtual reality is, the three types of virtual reality, and how we can use them to transform our world and improve the way we socialize and entertain.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Virtual reality is a computer-generated three-dimensional environment that users can explore and interact with virtually.
Virtual reality presents computer simulations in the form of auditory and visual elements that appear real to the user.
Users can interact with a VR environment with the aid of head-mounted displays such as VR headsets and VR glasses. These VR devices give the user a feeling of being immersed in their own surroundings while in a virtual reality environment.
Unlike augmented reality (AR), which processes real-world properties and is connected to a real-world environment, virtual reality can be similar to or completely different to the real world.
3 Types of Virtual Reality
- Fully-Immersive Virtual Reality
- Semi-Immersive Virtual Reality
- Non-Immersive Virtual Reality
1. Fully-Immersive Virtual Reality
Fully immersive virtual reality gives you a realistic experience within the virtual world.
You feel as if you’re physically present in the virtual world due to the use of your sensory organs to interact with the artificial environment.
To enable a fully-immersive VR experience, you need to have special VR equipment such as exoskeletons, devices like VR headsets, glasses, gloves, and body connectors equipped with sense detectors that can track your movement and project the data received to you in the virtual world.
These body connectors generate computer simulations that help provide a realistic virtual experience through your VR helmets.
To illustrate: While playing a horror video game with your VR equipment, you will be presented with characters that appear real to you in the virtual world.
Unlike when playing the game on a mobile device, where you only have to touch your mobile device and view the game on your screen, the movements you make will be registered in-game and help you run, jump, and shoot the in-game characters.
Fully immersive VR experiences are an aspect of virtual reality that has yet to be created by companies, as it’s both expensive to create and operate.
2. Semi-Immersive Virtual Reality
Semi-immersive virtual reality is in between fully-immersive and non-immersive virtual reality.
Semi-immersive virtual reality can be used on your computer or a VR head-mounted device.
Using your computer screen, mobile device, or VR head mounted device, you can move around in a 3D artificial environment without the need for physical movements for your visual experience.
In a nutshell, unlike in fully-immersive virtual reality, you do not need body connectors or sense detectors in semi-immersive virtual reality.
You can move around the virtual world using your mouse on your computer, and you can touch the screen to move around the virtual world on mobile devices.
Virtual visits to museums and cinemas are an example of semi-immersive virtual reality.
3. Non-Immersive Virtual Reality
Non-immersive virtual reality was the first type of virtual reality experience. It deals with interacting with a virtual environment through a computer or mobile device in which you control activities and characters within the virtual environment, but the virtual environment is not directly interacting with you.
In a non-immersive VR experience, you’re not interacting with the virtual world directly. The characters that you control interact with the activities in the virtual world.
Games such as GTA, PUBG, God of War, and Dynasty Warriors, which can be played on gaming devices such as PlayStation, Xbox, computers, etc., are examples of non-immersive virtual reality experiences.
The types of virtual reality experiences are classified by a number of factors, which are used to determine the level of immersion.
These factors are: interactivity, responsiveness, and awareness of the user’s physical environment.
These have to do with how the user interacts with the virtual environment, the sensory organs required to experience the VR environment, and how conscious they are of their real-world environment.