Virtual Reality (or VR) is a computer technology that simulates a user's physical presence in a virtual universe generated by a computer, game console or smartphone and in which the user in question can evolve and interact with the elements that make up that universe, you can visit to have extra information about Virtual Reality accessories. Today, the virtual refers to what is fictional, digital and intangible, as opposed to the real world.

Virtual reality, a parallel universe!

Virtual reality is a real sensory immersion because it is able to stimulate, depending on the technologies used, four of our five senses: touch, sight, hearing and smell, thus promoting the user's impression of travelling through time, space and different worlds. The virtual universe created can be, in Philippe Fushs' words in the Treatise on Virtual Reality, "imaginary, symbolic or a simulation of certain aspects of the real world", thus offering an infinite number of possibilities and an unlimited immersion, at least only those resulting from the imagination of the developers of these worlds.

Virtual reality today

Since then, research conducted on RV has constantly developed the possibilities offered by this technology in all the known fields of our society: leisure with video games, but also in health, safety, education and architecture. The media, for their part, offered an increasingly important place for RV, relaying innovations and novelties, while high-tech manufacturers and brands took up the subject, making the market more accessible to consumers and innovation faster. Today, when we talk about virtual reality, we think in particular of the:
  • Samsung Gear VR Headset, commercial release: November 2015
  • Oculus Rift headset, commercial release: March 2016
  • HTC Vive headphones, commercial release: April 2016
  • Razer OSVR headphones, commercial release on pre-order: July 2016
  • PlayStation VR headphones, commercial release: October 2016

Is there no limit to virtual reality?

In theory, virtual reality has limits only those imposed by current technological constraints and the offer offered by publishers and developers of virtual experiments. However, in practice, many limits are emerging as humans discover and use this technology: Health-related limitations: several cases of orientation disorders, migraines, loss of balance have been reported, so the manufacturers' recommendations for use should be strictly followed and a doctor should be consulted in case of adverse symptoms. Limitations related to social impact: Imagine a world where real interactions, from human to human, would be out-dated (or even gone) due to massive and prolonged use of RV. All connected to a virtual world without any reason or will to leave it, as the virtual would be shaped and thought to become the centrepiece of a new way of life. This deliberately pessimistic scenario, straight out of Cline's imagination, was brought to light by Spielberg with Ready Player One, and for the moment is fiction. It is important to note, however, that some users who immerse themselves perfectly in an RV experience have more difficulty coming out of it and that the return to reality can sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of uneasiness, a drop in morale or even depression. RV experiments should be short and it is recommended to maintain regular external contact. Above all, let us remember that virtual reality is still in its infancy and that many developments remain to be carried out. Developments that will in fact influence the general public's access to this technology, which will only be equipped at a much slower pace than technical advances. Nevertheless, it is important to underline the extraordinary universe that this technology is likely to offer its users: that of travel in time, in space and from one universe to another or when reality meets fiction!