Virtual reality gains steam in the new millennium.

'00

Virtual Reality History
NASA continued its research into VR systems, eventually pairing its tech with the agency's Robonaut project. While Robonaut could be programmed to work autonomously, it could also be controlled through telepresence. Users with head mounted displays and other hand-held controls could see from the robot's perspective and manipulate its appendages remotely.

NASA

'06

Toshiba's 2006 head-mounted display concept ditched individual optics in favor of your own, personal 15.8-inch IMAX. They said it gave wearers 120-degree (vertical) and 160-degree (horizontal) views from any angle a viewer's head turned.

TOSHIBA

'08

Virtual Reality History
NASA had been having issues with the limited field of view its VR products were providing, so it reached out to Baltimore based Sensics to help find a solution. The company responded in 2008 by delivering a high resolution, ultra wide field of view display called piSight. It seamlessly patched together images from a series of micro-displays to provide a 150-degree field of view.

SENSICS

'11

Virtual Reality History
The HMZ-T1, Sony’s first of a new series of 3D-viewing visors, launched in 2011. This unit boasted an "HD organic EL panel" with a 1,280 x 720 resolution. Consumers disappointed by the lack of head tracking for VR gaming soon rectified this omission through a little hacking.

SONY

'12

Virtual Reality History
Oculus VR was the first company to develop virtual reality headsets at a price point suited for the general public. Their Kickstarter project raised $2.5 million to develop the initial model. The company was purchased 2 years later by Facebook for $2 billion dollars.

OCULUS

"The good news is virtual reality is here...

The bad news is that something is still missing."

MYCHILO STEPHENSON CLINE, Virtual Reality: a Catalyst for Social and Economic Change

... the human factor.

Virtual reality experiences are missing a critical feature that would allow users to become fully immersed in the technology: The emotional response factor.
Of all the VR enabled games introduced at E3 this year, Ubisonft's "Star Trek: Bridge Crew" received the most attention from the media. As the first gaming experience to allow multiple players (located anywhere in the real world) to enter into the same VR environment and interact with each other as a team, Bridge Crew demonstrates the true promise of VR as a way to bring people together for entertainment, work and learning. But it also highlights one of the biggest challenges the technology has yet to transcend. Research on ways to allow face-to-face communication between users in a virtual world has shown that the obstruction created by head mounted displays (HMD) is a major challenge. Headsets which cover the upper portion of the face makes it impossible for external cameras to record accurate facial expressions, critical to users’ understanding of what other participants are thinking or feeling during a VR experience. Oculus VR and Facebook have tried to address this problem via a system of strain gauge’s, embedded in the headset’s foam lining, which record facial muscle activity, paired with a camera that records lower facial activity. Other research is being pursued to create a more minimalistic headset with a sensor, similar to the Myo Band, which correlates the body’s autonomic activities to emotions. The headset will measure eye movement, galvanic skin response, heart rate, sweat gland, respiration, blood pressure and body temperature. Creating a system where the virtual environment is influenced by users’ emotional responses will allow gaming, training and therapeutic VR applications to become more organic, opening the door to VR worlds that incorporate realistic and effective interaction among participants. PDT is a global, award-winning product design and development firm. Our team is experienced in industries ranging from medical to defense, consumer electronics and aerospace. At PDT we believe the success of a project relies on our team members' insight into today's product development issues, advances, technologies and trends. We actively seek out the information needed to stay savvy to the issues and opportunities facing our clients, continually building a foundation of knowledge and inspiration that helps our team design products which spark desire, devotion and success in the global marketplace.
Virtual Reality History
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