beanz Magazine

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Jack Pearce on Flickr

A short history of virtual and augmented reality with lots of links to learn more.

People have changed the world around them, and thought about how to change the world, since the start of human history. The idea of hand held tools to transport people to different worlds, however, appears to be a mostly new idea. The popularity of HG Wells and his science fiction novels, for example, led readers and writers to think and write about how technology might change or replace the world.

What we call virtual reality can be traced back at least to a short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum, Pygmalion’s Spectacles, published in 1935. The spectacles are goggles that, when worn, transport the narrator into a paradise with people, sounds, smells, and touch. Yet the narrator is aware he actually sits in a chair in a hotel room as he wears the goggles.

Virtual reality and augmented reality also evolved for practical reasons. In the 1920s, pilots had to learn how to fly with instruments. Early pilots flew mostly by calculating fuel, airspeed, wind resistance, and other factors to determine how far they could fly. Once in the air, they flew based on touch and experience.

In 1927, Edwin Link of Binghamton, NY built a Link Trainer, a metal frame flight simulator that used instruments connected to pumps and switches to simulate actual instrument flight. Pilots could train without the restrictions of weather and availability of planes and teachers. The Link Trainer eventually added movies and were heavily used in World War II. In the 1950s, flight simulators evolved into what we’re familiar with today. Here’s how a Link Trainer worked in the 1940s:

Development of personal virtual and augmented reality began in the 1960s with research done by Ivan Sutherland at MIT and the University of Utah. He and his students created the first head mounted displays and started to solve problems like eye tracking and depth perception. Jaron Lanier in the 1980s helped popularize the idea of virtual reality, and at least one attempt at a virtual reality game failed. However, computers were not powerful enough, a few technical problems had to be solved, and the cost of the technology limited its appeal.

The image below, from the current issue, presents this story as text and images. Right mouse-click the image to open it in a new tab and see it full size. Or download the PDF file.

kccs-2016-08-center-vr-ar-history

Learn More

What is Virtual Reality?

http://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/what-is-virtual-reality.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/virtual-reality-gets-real/403225/
https://medium.com/@blaurel/what-is-virtual-reality-77b876d829ba#.8zpk1nbl7

History of Virtual Reality

https://youtu.be/43mA_ypfwKg
http://bibblio.org/o/MJ/reality-check-a-history-of-virtual-reality

How Does Virtual Reality Work?

https://youtu.be/zpTvoMjZDm4

Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality

https://www.thefoundry.co.uk/solutions/virtual-reality/vr-ar-mr-sorry-im-confused/
http://www.adnews.com.au/opinion/ar-vs-vr-why-augmented-reality-is-winning-the-race
http://www.augment.com/blog/virtual-reality-vs-augmented-reality/

Augmented Reality

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_augmented_reality_software

Stanley G. Weinbaum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_G._Weinbaum

Link Trainer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_Trainer
https://youtu.be/5kmmKj7fbnI
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Albert_Link

Flight Simulators

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_simulator

Ivan Sutherland

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Sutherland
http://design.osu.edu/carlson/history/PDFs/p757-sutherland.pdf
http://jalopnik.com/the-first-real-object-ever-3d-scanned-and-rendered-was-494241353

Sword of Damocles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_of_Damocles_(virtual_reality)

Head Mounted Display

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head-mounted_display

Sensorama

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensorama
http://www.mortonheilig.com/InventorVR.html
http://www.sensorama3d.com/sensorama2.html

Jaron Lanier

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaron_Lanier
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2001/dec/29/games.academicexperts

Virtual Boy Game

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Boy
http://www.androidcentral.com/unofficial-virtual-boy-lets-you-enjoy-classic-nintendo-games-google-cardboard

HTC Vive

https://www.htcvive.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Vive

Oculus Rift

https://www.oculus.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oculus_Rift

Samsung Gear VR

http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-vr/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Gear_VR

Playstation VR

https://www.playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-vr/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_VR

Google Cardboard

https://vr.google.com/cardboard/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Cardboard

Fove Headset

http://www.getfove.com/

OSVR Headset

http://www.osvr.org/
http://developer.osvr.org/

Also In The October 2016 Issue

Virtual and augmented reality replace or add computing to our real world experience.

What would you build if you had 10 weeks and access to Microsoft HoloLens and HTC Vive equipment and developers?

With end of year holidays fast approaching, here are 35 of the more interesting ideas for holiday STEAM gifts that introduce STEAM concepts in fun ways.

If you work in a school or community library, or an after school group, STEAM events can be a way to offer technology events for kids.

A short history of virtual and augmented reality with lots of links to learn more.

One thing programmers do all day is imagine. When someone asks them to solve a problem with code, they start thinking and dreaming.

There are several key skills that I believe you need to have if you want to be a software programmer.

What makes a programmer lousy is a good way to identify what makes a programmer great.

Virtual reality has brought to the masses an old problem with flight simulators: what happens when our brain, ears, and eyes disagree?

The dots and lines used in graph theory can solve interesting problems.

Links from the bottom of all the October 2016 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for October 2016.