Knowing the virtual reality: history

Tipo: VR Article

The success that immersive technologies have received, especially in the business world, has led many companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Google, HTC, Facebook, Valve to enter the market with force. But because there has not been a standard that companies could share, it has generated a distinctive disintegration in the use of immersive technologies.

Each company has invested in its own system of recognition, detection of gestures and movements. This can lead to some confusion for the end user who is not up to date with these technologies and wants to take the first step to test them.

Therefore, Immersium Studio we will create several articles explaining briefly, but in an illuminating way everything related to virtual reality and augmented reality: technologies, devices, current state of the market, etc.

In this first article, we will briefly explain when virtual reality appeared for the first time, when it has reappeared and because it is being given so much importance at present.


A little history

More than 100 years have passed from the transformation of analogue society to the digital age. Thanks to the use of electronic binary systems, we turn our daily tasks into a new form of interaction, which has facilitated the most important daily tasks from then until today.

In 1965, Ivan Sutherlan realized the potential provided by these digital systems and how society was changing, so he worked on several projects to create new forms of interaction and determine where society was heading through its use. That same year he established the properties that virtual reality had to fulfill and in 1968 he built the first prototype called “The Sword of Damocles”.

Since then, many companies from different fields, from military to commercial systems. All of them have tried to replicate or recreate virtual reality devices without much success, such as a system created by MIT to tour the city of Aspen through real recordings in 1978 or Nintendo’s Famicon 3D System in 1987. From then until 2011, the systems of virtual reality were in the background, as something unattainable technologically, but something changed to re-popularize them, the smartphone.

Mobile devices or smartphones, were born based on the sum of many reduced technologies in a tiny space, including the accelerometer, gyroscope, gps and magnetometer. These electronic devices were the basis for the rebirth of virtual reality, marked by the Oculus Rift in 2011, through a Kickstarter, collective financing system. The new device was a success in funding, to such a level that Facebook itself decided to buy the company that was making and giving financial support, including John Carmack himself, father of programming in 3D video games joined the project.

John Carmack, founder of Id Software and creator of revolutionary new 3D virtual environments at the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony. Image extracted from Wikipedia CC BY 2.0
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