The 12 Milestones in the History of Virtual Reality

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Many tech gurus have coined 2016 to be the year of Virtual Reality, but... did you know that the first virtual reality concept goes back to the beginning of the 19th century? This article by URGE IO reveals the 12 milestones in the 180 years of the virtual reality development and information on how virtual reality became popular for the masses after such a long time.

The 12 Milestones in the History of Virtual Reality

The 12 Milestones in the History of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality was certainly the most popular topic at tech conferences and events in 2016. Most tech events discussed themes like how virtual reality will influence people’s lives and the impact in entertainment, social media, games, work, education as well as medicine.

Currently, according to multiple tech publishers, it is expected that virtual reality will be found in everyone’s home no more than 2 or 3 years from now. This is due to the fact that each day VR technology is becoming more powerful, accessible, cheaper and compatible with a greater range of devices.

But what is the history behind this currently highly entertaining technology? How much effort and time was invested to create the elaborate devices we see today?

The answer can be found in the infographic ‘The 12 milestones in the History of Virtual Reality’ which explains the most influential devices for the virtual reality development and what created VR, as it is known today.

Going from the Stereoscope, a device from 1838 based on binocular images displayed to create the illusion of depth, demonstrating how two pictures presented in a certain way can create the illusion of a 3-dimensional object, to the first idea about the “cinema of the future” in 1955. Moving further along the timeline Nintendo enters the space with the Nintendo Power Glove, used as a virtual reality controller for games.

NASA as well as other big research institutions played a big role and spent huge resources on the Virtual Reality development. NASA developed the VIVED headset back in the 1985, helping astronauts and cosmonauts control their robots remotely, compared to conducting risky operations outside their spacecraft.

Google made a huge impact in virtual reality development as well by introducing Google Cardboard – the device that made virtual reality affordable ($15) and thus more accessible just about 3 years ago. Compare this to the 1990s where VR technology cost around US$50,000 – US$100,000.

Each of the 12 devices depicted in the infographic are a historical landmark contributing to and laying the foundation for this major breakthrough in technology and society.

The following infographic ‘The 12 milestones in the History of Virtual Reality’ presents 12 devices that shaped VR technology, as we know it today, based on price, weight, screen resolution, field of view, tracking area, tracking sensors, stereo speakers, gesture control, as well as a brief history.

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Altan Sarisin
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