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Foreword I first had the privilege of working with Charles Palmer in 2002 when I joined the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Both Charles and I were lucky enough to work with virtual reality pioneer Randy Pausch, whom you might know from his famous book and video entitled The Last Lecture. Randy was a great believer in the future of virtual reality. He really believed, like I do, that it is the most important development in computer technology to happen in our lifetime. Randy devoted the majority of his career to figuring out how to best use VR to create incredible experiences, and one way he did this was by creating a class called Building Virtual Worlds, which challenged students to use bleeding edge VR technologies to create powerful and innovative experiences. The central philosophy of the class was that there was no time to sit around theorizing about what might work the best way to learn about virtual reality is to — jump right in! Fifteen years later, Randy is no longer with us, but the class goes on, and though the technology has advanced, we still jump right in! Of course, jumping in with the support of an advanced graduate program is one thing, and jumping in on your own is something else again! Fortunately for you, Charles Palmer and Producer/Writer John Williamson have crafted this wonderful book, which provides everything you need to get started crafting your own innovative virtual worlds right away.
Table of Contents Preface 1 Chapter 1: The Past, Present, and Future of VR 7 The history of virtual reality 8 Through the looking glass 9 Making a static image dance 10 The bigger the better – panoramic paintings 11 Stereoscopic viewers 14 Why stop at just sight and sound? – Smell o' Vision and Sensorama 18 Link Trainers and Apollo 19 Interactivity and True HMDs 20 1960 – TelesphereMask 20 1961 – Headsight 21 1968 – Teleyeglasses 21 1965 – The Ultimate Display 21 1968 – Sword of Damocles 22 1968 – The mother of all demos 23 1969 – Virtual Cockpit/Helmet Mounted Sight 23 1969 – Artificial Reality 23 1995 – CAVE 24 1987 – Virtual reality and VPL 24 1989 – Nintendo Powerglove 24 1990s – VR Explosion 25 1991 – Virtuality Dactyl Nightmare 25 1993 – SEGA VR glasses 26 1995 – VRML – Virtual reality Markup Language 26 1995 – Nintendo Virtual Boy 27 1995 – Hasbro Toaster 28 2013 – Oculus Rift 28 2014 – Google Cardboard 29 2015 – Samsung Gear VR 29.
1 The Past, Present, and Future of VR This book is designed to serve as a hands-on introduction to virtual reality, commonly known as simply VR. The book includes a brief history of the technology, some definitions of popular terms, as well as best practices to stave off motion sickness and ensure your trackers are working perfectly.
The Past, Present, and Future of VR Chapter 1 User interaction in VR Building VR environments Equirectangular images Improving performance The Samsung Gear VR workflow process The Oculus Rift workflow process Combating VR sickness The history of virtual reality The development of virtual reality has been driven by the confluence of three improvements to display technologies: Field of View: the size of the area that we can see Stereoscopic 3D: the depth cue from viewing the world from two different horizontally separated viewpoints Interactivity: the ability to change the virtual environment in real time In this chapter, we are going to illustrate the history of virtual reality and how earlier designs have served as inspiration for today, even a few older ideas that we have not quite duplicated with our current generation of VR hardware.
The Past, Present, and Future of VR Chapter 1 Through the looking glass Perspective, a great example of the intersection between art and math, allowed us to accurately trace the world as we see it. Artists learned to mix paints to create the illusion of translucency in pigments. Magicians were able to use persistence of vision to create illusions and children's toys that would one day lead to moving pictures and create holograms of dead pop stars: Magic lanterns are an extension of the Camera Obscura and can be traced back to the 17th century. Rather than using the light from the sun, as a Camera Obscura did, an artificial light was used: first candlelight, then limelight, then electricity. The light was shown through a painted glass plate which was projected on the wall, very much like a slide projector (or even video projector). The images could be scrolled, giving the illusion of motion, or two images could be alternated, giving the illusion of animation. The simple technology of magic lanterns was popular for over 200 years, up until the 1920s when moving pictures finally dethroned them: [ 9 ].