How Does Virtual Reality Work?

Lara Raven

Lara Raven

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How does virtual reality work

Technology constantly boosts entertainment. A decade ago, we sank our heads into the Gameboy, then the PC screens, and nowadays – we are into gaming. Speaking of visual experiences that enhance the experience, VR is an unbeatable game-changer in the entertaining world – no pun intended. The entire concept of a VR being able to control your emotions in an unrealistically real setting is downright fascinating.

You know it’s not real – but you still cannot help but scream when you fall.

So, if you find the fact irritating that a virtual world can, indeed, feel so real – you have come to the right place. Here we unfold the mystery of VR and what makes it so powerful.

How Does VR Trick Our Brains?

The catch with VR is that it communicates directly to the brain. The entire idea of VR is based on the way we see and perceive things. When we look at screens, be it mobile or PC, we see all games as pictures.

And unless we spend hours gaming, we can always step back when something unexpected happens. In VR, however, two screens take the role of human eyes in capturing the real-life experience set in a virtual environment. 

The thing that makes Virtual Reality so real is that we see slightly different projections from one eye than the other, which is also how we perceive things.

how does VR actually works

You can actually test this for yourself. Close one eye and observe a certain motion.

Now switch eyes and do the same with the other. What you will notice is that the exact motion depicts itself differently depending on the eye you are using to see. Well, this is the basic trick VR pulls.

Then, the difference between what your eyes see is depth. This depth is also known as Steriotopsis. Hence, if we have depth – we have 3D. The VR developer is tasked to work on elaborating and perfecting the Steriotopsis – and here’s how. 

Enhancing Emotions

To enhance the sensation of existing in the real world, VR developers add special effects of all sorts – sounds, shadows, highlights, etc. 

Think of the VR concept this way. When you put a VR  set on, you feel the same as if you are inside the game, playing it. If you turn to your right you will see what goes on there, and the same goes for looking to your left, up, down, behind – you get the gist. But, what makes it so realistic is that, as we turn our heads left or right, VR developers volume up the sounds as you turn to one side.

emotions and VR - how does virtual reality works

The best way to test VR is through actually playing action games. Once you get into a base of enemies – where you have to fight for your life – you’ll navigate faster than in front of the computer. One reason for this is because you can hear sirens or your opponent’s footsteps as they approach – hence, you know what move to make next. But, let’s not omit the part when you might experience a mini heart attack. If you happen to get ‘killed’ in the game, or ambushed by an army, you will experience both misfortunes in a real-like fashion. If your adrenaline starts hitting the roof, relax and adjust – it’s just VR. 

The Unique Brain Phenomena

Dr. Frank Steinacke, who’s been following and studying the flow of immersive technologies, like VR, reveals a few rather shocking truths about our brains that VR developers take advantage of.

Namely, in the last 1500 years, our brains still cannot differentiate between fictional and real environments. That is so because once we put the head-set, we log out from this world and follow the gut sense we get from the provided virtual reality. Plus, studies find that 80% of the information we perceive comes through our eyes, which makes it easier for VR to trick us into experiencing any realm through realistic and genuine responses.

Dr. Frank further enlightened VR users and to-be users of the updates and changes they made for the past two decades. As he put it himself, We guide users on a circular arc with a radius of 20 meters.”

In other words, VR users might not be able to distinguish between walking the street with a VR set on and walking the street physically. On the bright side, this also means that whilst in your head you may be saving Gotham City, in real life, you are likely doing laps around the dining table. 

The Future of VR: Something to Look Forward to 

Although VR developers work hard to perfect their designated glasses, and all that comes with the package, there are still some indicators that can help users distinguish between fiction and reality. Such include graphics and lighting. In terms of graphics, when you see a squared bush or a pixel fox, you can take out the glasses when the going gets tough. As for lighting, it is crucial in VR since it affects perception.

So, if it’s not carried out right, it will be far too noticeable. And if it’s made just right – well, then, you’re good to go. 

In five years or so, when all graphics are kicked up yet another notch, there is no shadow of a doubt that VR will become the next technological wonder the world is looking forward to!  

Lara Raven
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