The history of VR
Special Features: The history of VR3:52 /
Where did the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive begin? We look at the bizarre, ambitious and frequently disappointing history of virtual reality -- the ultimate sci-fi dream.
[MUSIC] If there's one thing humans can't stand, it's the actual, physical world. For as long as we've been able to render computer generated worlds, we've fantasized about transplanting our minds into the artificial realm. But for all our decades of dreaming the history of art in the real world is essentially a story of failure. The LE60 saw [UNKNOWN] within motion theater such as Morton Helig/s snow producing senseorama or [UNKNOWN]. The VR Got its first proper airing when respected compter scientist Ivan Sutherland described what he called the ultimate display, a head mounted room filling wonder gadget that, Sutherland hoped, would prove a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland. Sutherland's tech was truly mind bending, but as we know the public fantasized over the next two decades was for computers that were a little more two dimensional. Nevertheless VR was growing behind the scenes. Industrial. Crude wide-frame environments? It can only be the mid-80s, a time when systems like NASA's Virtual Visual Environment display were proving the potential of the art outside the consumer sphere. Showing off in 1986, two tiny LCD screens and a helmet-mounted sensor promised a final frontier of remotely-controlled space hardware. Back on Earth the 80's saw virtual reality become a familiar term. One popularized by Garen Lanie of VPL, which developed the data glove, and ancestor of the infamous power glove for the Nintendo entertainment system. I love the power glove. It's so bad. Public interest flared and suddenly the VR revolution was just around the corner. The focal point for that enthusiasm was to be the games industry. And in the mid 90s, VR started to creep into our homes. There were outliers like Forte's VFX1. Now I'm into this game. But Sega and Nintendo, at the time the biggest names in gaming, also had a go. The Sega VR made it to arcades, but the console version was cancelled. A decision Nintendo should have learned from before building the Virtual Boy. Released in the US in August, 1995, the Virtual Boy, which offers monochromatic 3D gaming through a boxy headset had nothing going for it. It was expensive, the games looked terrible. Nintendo stripped out headtracking from the prototype. And most worryingly, gamers complained of headaches and nausea when using it. A critical and commercial failure, the VirtualBoy was canned the next year. Marketing aside, the VirtualBoy was VR only in the weakest sense. But as a poster child for the concept, it's [UNKNOWN] or virtual reality take a big hit. This is the occulus rift. Today with vastly improved hardware, we're once more ready to give VR a try. In a new virtual reality flair ignited by occulus rift, which in 2012 stormed kickstarter, earning over $1 million in crowd funding in only a few days Since then, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, [UNKNOWN], Valve, and many more have thrown their hats into the VR ring. Will VR finally stick, or not? Well, there are signs that this time, things could be different. Today's VR is being pioneered by tech makers like Samsung and HTC who desperately need a next big thing as heat from the smartphone boom [UNKNOWN]. So there's plenty of enthusiasm and resources in the war to make VR work. Then there's the social web, which open up a new frontier for VR beyond gaming. We've already seen VR social networks and with Facebook now in charge of Oculus, the virtual worlds to come could be a lot chattier than we anticipated What VR has never ever done though, is win over the public. So if you really want to know whether this stuff could ever take off, all you have to do is ask yourself do I want this in my life? So, do you? [SOUND] [BLANK_AUDIO]