Virtual reality systems come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have similar features, such as the capacity to display three-dimensional visuals. To the individual, these pictures appear to be life-sized.

They also alter as individuals walk about their environment, as their field of view shifts. The goal is for the person’s head and eye motions to flow seamlessly into the appropriate reaction, such as a shift in perception. This makes the virtual environment both realistic and pleasurable.

As the user investigates their surroundings, a virtual environment should deliver suitable reactions — in real-time. The issues develop when there is a lag between the person’s actions and the system’s response, also known as latency, interrupting the person’s experience. The individual recognizes that they are in an artificial setting and modifies their behavior appropriately, resulting in a stilted, mechanical encounter.

The goal is to create a natural, free-flowing connection that will leave a lasting impression.


Virtual reality is the development of a virtual world that is presented to our senses so that we feel as if we are physically present in it. It achieves this purpose using a variety of technologies and is a technically challenging effort that must consider human vision and cognition. It may be used for both fun and serious intentions. Technology is getting less expensive and more widely available. Because of the potential of virtual reality, we may expect to see many more new uses for the technology in the future and even a fundamental change in how we interact and work.

To put it another way, virtual reality fundamentally consists of:

Believable: You must truly believe that you are in your virtual environment (on Mars or anywhere) and maintain that belief; otherwise, the illusion of virtual reality will be lost. Interactive: The VR environment must move with you as you walk around. You can view a 3D movie and be taken to the Moon or the ocean below, but it isn’t interactive in any way.
Computer-generated: What is the significance of this? Because only sophisticated computers with accurate 3D computer graphics can create credible, interactive other worlds that change in real-time as we walk about them.
Explorable: A virtual reality world must be large and detailed enough to allow you to explore it. No matter how realistic it appears, a painting depicts only one scenario from a single point of view. A book can show a large and complicated “virtual world,” but you can only explore it linearly, just as the author explains it.

Immersive: VR must engage both your body and mind to be convincing and participatory. War painters’ paintings can provide glimpses of warfare, but they will never truly depict the sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel of battle. You can lose yourself in a very realistic, interactive experience on your home PC for hours (the landscape will constantly change as your plane flies through it). Still, it’s not the same as sitting in a real flight simulator (where you sit in a hydraulically operated mockup of a real cockpit and feel actual forces as it tips and tilts), and even less like flying a plane.