The Evolution of VR design

by ZhinanZhang on Jul 22, 2021

The Evolution of VR design


Virtual reality has a long history and its roots are slightly different from how the concept is perceived today. The crucial characteristic that never changed, despite time and evolution, is to make something recognized as real even if it is not.


When we speak about virtual reality, we have access to several definitions. The one used today refers to a creation of digital visuals combined with specifically designed hardware that generates a full true-to-life scenario. First attempts of immersive reality, that somehow influenced the today’s technology advancement, are the panoramic paintings. They were the concept generators of 360 degree pictures, by making the viewer part of the painting.


Later in 1838, Charles Wheatstone invented the stereoscopic images. Those images were based on his research stating that the brain processes differently the two-dimensional images from each eye, integrating them into a singular 3d picture.

The first VR headset was patented in the 1960’s and was named the “Telesphere Mask” by Morton Heilig. It was the first example of a head-mounted display, without any motion tracking.  Later, in 1969 Myron Krueger invented the “artificial reality” by introducing fully-responsive environments, where the participants will be the main characters. The most famous projects are: Glowflow, Metaplay and Psychic space.

Telesphere Mask

A more recent discovery in the world of  VR belongs to Google, in 2007 they enhanced map service with street-level 360 degree images.

The Oculus Go and Oculus Quest 1 could be also considered fundamental in the current development of VR. They are the two first examples of VR standalone, which means that is no need of computer or phone to work. Mobile VR is declining rapidly and standalone systems such as the Go are very affordable.

Oculus Go
Oculus Quest_1

Mixed Reality systems and sophisticated technologies are now part of standalone VR headsets. The Oculus Quest receives a promise of tethering capability and smartphone-based VR projects begin shutting down.


One of the latest models is Oculus Quest 2, the next generation of all-in-one VR. Quest 2 pushes the state of VR forward with a redesigned all-in-one form factor, new Touch controllers, and highest-resolution display.

Oculucs Quest_2

As we can see the development of VR has been quite remarkable in  less than a century, going from an idea of perceiving an image as real, to actual public services that can ameliorate the ordinary conditions. Today we are seeing VR extremely useful especially in the Health system, where you can see organs reactions and better analyze certain diseases.

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