Nowadays, the VR technology is already relatively advanced. But where does this development actually come from? If we take a look back at the beginnings of VR, we have to consider pinoeers of the 1950s and 1960s.
Morton Heilig has been touted as the father of VR as he invented the first 3D movie machine called Sensorama in 1957. Patented in 1962, it should improve the 2D movie experience.
“It is a simulator for one to four people that provides the illusion of reality using a 3-D motion picture with smell, stereo sound, vibrations of the seat, and wind in the hair to create the illusion.
Parts of the Sensorama are two other inventions which made it possible, the Sensorama Motion Picture Projector and the Sensorama 3-D Motion Picture Camera.”
On top of that, Morton Heilig created the first head-mounted display (HMD) called Telesphere Mask that enables “stereoscopic 3D TV, wide vision and true stereo sound”. From our present point of view, the Telesphere Mask looks much like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and could be seen as grandfather and former ancestor.
Based on the success of these innovations, Morton Heilig developed another simulator: the Experience Theater. It works in a similar way to Sensorama, but appeals to a larger target group. Developed for an entire theater full of people, the Experience Theater shows 3D motion pictures on a large semi-spherical screen.
But Morton Heilig was not the only visionary of his time. Douglas Engelbart is another outstanding personage who had a decisive impact on the development of VR . As American engineer and inventor, he created the first graphical user interface for communicating with computers and revolutionized the human computer interaction.
“Rather than limit computers to number crunching, Engelbart envisioned them as tools for digital display. He knew from his days with radar that any digital information could be viewed on a screen. Why not, he then reasoned, connect the computer to a screen and use both to solve problems?”
Against this background, we welcome the current development. As VR sheds its ivory-tower image slowly but surely, the next-generation technology proceeds to become part of our everyday life.