Essay on Benefits and Dangers of Virtual Reality

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Benefits and Dangers of Virtual Reality

Although still in its, infancy, virtual reality will have a substantial effect on our future way of life. Virtual reality already has made astounding progress in the world of commercial design, and it is predicted to have a tremendous impact on everyday life as well. Virtual reality, when more available, will have various uses ranging from recreation to basic communication. The applications of virtual reality into different fields of occupations and research will have both positive and negative effects on our society.

Virtual reality can be defined as a, "technology that enables users to enter computer generated worlds and interface with them three dimensionally through sight, sound, and touch" (Newquist 93). Virtual reality combines computer simulation and visualization into a single, coherent whole (Peterson 8). Researchers say it embodies an attempt to eliminate the traditional distinction between the user and the machine. Virtual reality is intended to provide a means of naturally and intelligently interacting with information (8). Virtual reality is contending to be the interface of the future, allowing ordinary users to use their senses to interact with complex data.

Virtual reality is a new exploration in science and technology using advanced and complex mechanics. Virtual reality allows for users to go far beyond simply looking at a computer screen. Instead, the user puts on a special suit or gloves equipped with fiber-optic sensors. These fiber-optic sensors are able to interpret body positions. The user also wears special goggles that have video screens and audio attachments. This equipment allows for the user's complete immersion into a 3-D, computer generated, model of reality (Carr 37). The use of a two-way data transfer is what enables this interaction with an alternate reality to occur. Fiber-optic and electronic cables are attached to the virtual reality equipment in order to record the user's movements (Newquist 93). These cables then send this information, called motion data, to workstations which modifies the graphics in the model. The new information is then sent back to the users headset, displaying a graphic and audio world that is time with his or her movements. It is because of this cabling process that the action/reaction information is continually updated (93).

In order to effectively create a 3-D environment for the user, virtual reality combines the elements of immersion and interactivity. Immersion is the user's contact with the virtual reality with as many senses as possible including; sight, hearing, and touch.
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