On The Horizon Of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality will no doubt mirror the breath taking pace of development that is the norm for other computerized applications. Thus, what is state of the art now will be commonplace in decades.
Aspects of virtual technology that are just ideas now will become reality soon. For example, technology is being developed to use the retina of the eye as a screen for images that could be transmitted directly to the brain through the optic nerve. Virtual sight would become a replacement for natural sight in those blind people whose optical hardware was intact.
Also under development is technology to allow the remote operation of aircraft and other machines as though the user were actually in the machine. Traveling to France or Greece, including the experience of climbing the Eiffel Tower or basking on a sun-drenched beach, may be as easy as donning a headset and body suit and plugging in.
Like most technological advances, virtual reality has social and psychological ramifications. Critics argue that virtual reality could cause some people to forego emotions and interpersonal relationships for the safe, controllable virtual world. But proponents say advances from the proper applications of this technology—both as a means of interacting with the real world and as an end of facilitating training and entertainment—far outweigh the potential for antisocial abuse.
Dix, Alan J., Janet E. Finlay, Gregory D. Abowd, et al. Human-Computer Interaction. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998.
Hsu, Feng-Hsiung. Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer That Defeated the World Chess Champion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.
Sherman, William, R., and Alan B. Craig. Understanding Virtual Reality: Interface, Application, and Design. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2002.
University of Michigan Virtual Reality Laboratory. "Virtual Reality: A Short Introduction." College of Engineering. January 6, 2003 [cited January 17, 2003]. <http://www.vrl.mich.edu/intro/>.
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