Virtual Reality Adam Pitt
History of VR • 1800-1950sJudith Maloney suggested we go back to the public exhibits of the early 1800s. • Originally appearing in the 1790s, viewers could sit in rooms with circular walls painted with foreign places that slowly rotated making the effect of motion. • Music and sound effects were later added • As early as the 1900s, simulator rides existed that enabled the motions of viewers on platforms to be synchronized with movements on panoramic screens • Reality was further mixed with the addition of sounds, smells, and even lighting • So, in its earliest conceptions VR was a “group” experience. • By the 1830s, moving painted panoramas, standing 10 feet in height on stage, and running several hundred feet in length, the images would slowly roll from spindle to spindle, showing only one canvas at a time.
1950sMorton Heilig is generally credited with the birth of virtual reality technology (VR) as we now know it. • In 1956 he developed the world’s first commercial multimedia simulation device, which he called, the Sensorama. • A user could partake on a three-dimensional motorcycle ride, complete with stereo sound to hear, smells to sniff, and engine vibrations to feel • 1960-1980Personal virtual experiences weren’t possible until 1968 • the year Ivan Sutherl developed the first, head mounted display (HMD) technology. • Essentially, this was made of two cathode ray tubes placed on a headband with a mechanical tracking system This the user to watch three-dimensional wire frame objects • Was it realistic? Not until 1975, when Eric Howlett produced the optical system currently used by most current HMDs - its wide angle provided a much more interesting experience
1980sMyron Krueger came into the scene in the 1980s. • He advanced the work of Howlett by developing a program that enabled people to interact and affect computer generated images • Another major contributor to VR technology is the Media Laboratory at MIT. • This institution is credited with the development of the first time real-time high quality animation images. • The NASA Ames Research contributed in 1985, they created the first “fully interactive virtual environment”
Medical use • Myron Krueger was one of the first people to apply VR to mental health disorders • In 1991 he created Artificial Reality II, and discussed psychotherapy as a possible application for VR. • He understood that for some patients talking to a computer might be easier than a person, and that VT could be used to overcome inhibitions normally present in “real life” • Krueger ascertained that VR could gradually introduce elements of change in a controlled manner - something real life generally doesn’t allow. • Krueger has written extensively on the dynamic of human-computer interaction in VR applications and simulation environments. • Charles Tart was also forerunner to VR in the mental health arena. • In 1991 he suggested using virtual worlds to help patients recreate past traumas
Then during a 1990 technology exhibit in San Jose, a mental health researcher by the name of Ralph Lamson claimed he was able to cure his acrophobia using a VR system. • He then used VR to treat 36 acrophobic students. • By the conclusion of treatment only 10% of the students still met diagnostic criteria for acrophobia. • The results were presented at the Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference in San Diego in 1996
From this point on, there has been a steady rise of technologies and ideas about the use of VR in the mental health field, generated by a number of researchers, mental health experts and computer programmers. • The first studies using VR to treat phobia where executed in the early to mid-1990s. • The projected growth of the field is phenomenal. According to a recent market research, VR technologies have witnessed double-digit growth worldwide andis predicted, the US market for virtual reality in healthcare will exceed $290m
Virtual Reality Today • Essentially, VR is the second to last of human computer interaction (HCI). • It enables a person to actively participate in a three-dimensional computer-simulated world. • Users of VR often refer to their experience as “getting into” or becoming immersed in the virtual world • Each move of the head or body will a result in a change in the computer generated world.
Problems • Now we’ll get back to reality. • Virtually reality in the mental health field does suffer from various technical limitations. • It’s a complicated and expensive process to convincingly immerse and engage participants. • So, despite the rapid advance in technological developments, in many cases, the virtual world is still rudimentary. • Then there's the issue of finances. Although the cost of VR has been extremely high in the past, prices in VR continue to drop whilst improvements in technology continue to make VR more user friendly. • Still, it isn’t cheap. Virtually Better, a leading creator and provider of VR software, leases its software to clinical therapists at $400 U.S. a month while researchers are charged a flat rate of $3,500 -$10,000 for the software. Headsets with trackers might set you back anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000
There are limitations with VR devices as in regards to usability. • For example with head-mounted displays simulations suggests that many of the concerns are regarding the HMD device itself. • Common problems included HMD cable entanglement around the user or chair, HMD weight, incorrect HMD fit, and nausea associated with HMD use Users have reported general discomfort in wearing an HMD, as well as concerns about getting caught in the connecting cables. • Many of the problems associated with VR usability have occurred because virtual environments have not been designed with usability issues in mind • Side effects are, disorientation, dizziness and nausea.