V-Rtifacts

Tag Archive: NASA

The Writing Was On the Wall…

When did we first get a clue that VR might not fully live up to its promise? The National Academy of Science’s “Committee on Virtual Reality Research and Development” roster is a non-virtual who’s-who of the VR world circa 1994. They certainly “got it!”

SUBSTANTIAL TECHNOLOGY GAP EXISTS BETWEEN WHAT IS
VIRTUAL, WHAT IS REALITY (Sept. 20, 1994)

NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

WASHINGTON — Despite the enthusiasm surrounding virtual reality (VR) — three-dimensional computer-generated worlds with which people can interact — a substantial gap exists between the technology available today and the technology needed to bring virtual environments closer to reality, concludes a National Research Council committee in a new report.* If the federal government vigorously pursues a broad-based program of research on virtual environments, telerobotics, and augmented reality, it could lead to many cost-effective applications that will go well beyond those now available in the entertainment industry.

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Nothing New Under the Sun!

It’s 1985 and there’s already a nice high resolution, wide field of view VR helmet (from VPL Research), glove system, and 6 DOF tracking of both helmet and glove, thanks to Scott Fisher and NASA Ames.  In particular, check out the LEEP wide FOV optics (from LEEP inventor Eric Howlett’s predecessor company Pop Optix.) These lenses became the optical basis for the Virtual Research Flight Helmet and several of the subsequent generation of VPL HMDs. 25 years later, and these lenses are still pretty much the reference standard for wide FOV. Presumably NASA funding covered the cost of the precision molds for the huge plastic lens elements.