Virtual reality is nothing new. It’s been around for decades, tent-poled by a few signature eras. The first of these was in the 1960’s, when Morton Heilig built a prototype of his “Experience Theatre” called the Sensorama, and Ivan Sutherland created the first VR and AR head-mounted-display (HMD) – a massive device that required ceiling suspension. The second era was during the mid-80’s to mid-90’s, when Jaron Lanier founded VPL Research, Mattel’s VR Power Glove was available for just $75 USD, and the concept of virtual reality was popularized in movies such as THE LAWNMOWER MAN. We are currently in the third era, a Facebook-fueled frenzy of global activity – leveraging on technological advances and accessibility – that just might achieve mass-market traction where previous attempts have failed.
Although awareness is growing, many people still either don’t know what VR is, or refer to everything as “VR.” In China, for instance, “VR” is used as a catchall term encompassing virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. On the other end of the spectrum are the technorati, who debate the fine points of whether 360-degree videos should be called “VR” and whether POKEMON GO qualifies as “true” AR.
In light of this and for your consideration, here are brief explanations of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) that I’ve used when describing the technology to… (full post on AWN)