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What is Virtual Reality (VR) and how does it work

What is Virtual Reality (VR) and how does it work


Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment that lets the user experience, explore and manipulate a different three-dimensional environment than the one that the individual is already in. Virtual reality tricks the brain into thinking that the individual is present in the environment and hence the user feels that he/she is currently in the environment being displayed. The VR targets the sight and hearing of the individual to give the feel of being present somewhere else.

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What is Virtual Reality (VR) and how does it work

How virtual reality works

In order for a virtual reality device to work the equipment should be such that-

  • From the perspective of the user, the three-dimensional images appear to be life-sized.
  • The equipment must have sensors and gyroscopes to catch the motion of the user in real time, the head, hand, eye movements and incorporate the same into the three-dimensional images so as to reflect the changes in the perspective.

To understand how virtual reality works, some terms need to be understood first which would explain the whole process lucidly-

Immersion- Virtual reality has the ability to immerse the user in a different world, so much so that the individual can react with the environment in meaningful ways. This unique combination of interactivity and immersion of the individual is called telepresence. Thus, the users shift their focus from the immediate environment around them and concentrate on the digital environment that the VR offers.

Interaction- Thevirtual reality (VR) enables the user to perceive the digitally created environment as the real one and shift all their focus into it. The ability up to which the user is able to interact with the surroundings is a measure of how advanced that particular company’s virtual reality is. For example, there are games in the market that allows the user to shoot in the first-person mode (FPS games) like the computer games in the market, the only difference being that the user has to actually run and shoot in real time using various hand-controlled sensor sticks in place of the gun(s). Interaction depends upon the speed, range, and mapping of the virtual reality system.

The Virtual Reality Environment

The virtual reality environment or VE takes into consideration, the sensory stimuli of the user and how it should change during the course of the experience to match the users’ in real time. The lag time between when the user acts and the virtual environment responds is termed as latency. General studies show that an average individual can detect a latency of more than 50 milliseconds. Hence, a good virtual environment should have a latency far lesser than that otherwise, that would cause a break in the immersion and interaction process.


Virtual Reality (VR) has come a long way and more and more progress is being made on an everyday basis. The head-mounted displays (HMD) are being constantly improved upon and interested individuals today have a wide range of options from different companies to choose from. As technology grows, so will virtual reality and it is only a matter of time when the user will feel completely immersed and engaged in the reality presented.

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