The Creational Force 2012: A Virtual Truth of Reality...

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In Blue Marble , the user is limited to simply gazing out over planet Earth as music plays and the video slowly tours the planet for a few minutes. In Solar System Explorer , the experience is similar, but the user has control over a ship, and can visit the different planets in the solar system.


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Outer space is ideal as a setting for exploration because its vastness and the relative slowness of space travel suit well the slower movements that work best with current HMD technology, limiting possible nausea and a user's subsequent disengagement from the game. Screenshot from Blue Marble Taking similar advantage of a user's limited perspective, horror games such as White Door Games' Dreadhalls or Enno Gottschalk's Lost in the Rift use darkened lighting and multidirectional sound to disorient or surprise the user. In Dreadhalls, the user must navigate through a randomly generated dungeon maze.

Lit by torchlight, the user makes their way through narrow corridors, peeking around corners, and slowly opening chests and doors. Fear in the game arises out of the claustrophobic setting and the ever-present though seldom occurring possibility of something jumping out at the user. The sound of wind, doors closing and echoing, as well as intimate whispers contrast with louder, sometimes jarring music, to create suspense and anxiety in the user. Similar claustrophobic elements are found in Lost in the Rift. Beginning outside in a dark forest, full of branches that obstruct vision, the user, armed only with a flashlight, gradually makes his or her way into a narrow cave with corridors.

Again, light sounds of rain, and later of a young girl whispering contrast with louder, eerie music to build suspense. In both Dreadhalls and Lost in the Rift , limited lighting is used to control the user's experience. Sound, played at different volumes and between left and right headphones, disorients the user, building their anxiety, and heightening their awareness of surroundings.

Little action is actually needed to build fear in the user - only the possibility of danger from somewhere in the environment. The games establish both literal and fictional modes of presence, and it is notable that sound is so central to the experiences. Audio, however, was completely absent from Abrash's breakdown of elements necessary for presence in VR. It focused solely on visual elements, yet, as in film, audio may be central in smoothing out transitions between different visual environments.

Studies by Poeschl, Wall, and Doering and Nordahl have confirmed a heightened sense of presence when sound is strategically used, whether spatially, or in connection with the user's motion. A consistent audio stream may help in preserving one sense of presence. In performance, audio plays a similar role in preserving the illusion on stage, as music aids in scenic transitions. Loud, atmospheric, or multidirectional sound can be used to engage or surprise audiences. Similarly, contrast in lighting effects can be used for disorientation. For example, in Theatre No99 No51 My Wife Got Angry , a multimedia performance about a man recalling past events, the lights are briefly shut off and turned on again, revealing a half-dozen characters from the protagonists' memory on stage.

Daniel MacIvor used a similar effect in his solo performance about life in suburbia, Cul-De-Sac , the lights flashing brightly, temporarily blinding the audience, while the actor takes his first position sitting in a chair. Neither show would be classified as a horror piece, but the technique befits theatre's need to keep audiences guessing. Despite their simplicity, such effects are effective in creating a sense of presence, as they disorient the audience and force them to immediately assess their surroundings.

Screenshot Lost in the Rift Exploration of the relationship between fear or anxiety and presence in VR is one that has only somewhat been explored in theatre and performance. As previously mentioned, various studies in VR have shown a positive correlation between fear or anxiety and feelings of presence.

Virtual reality

This is perhaps unsurprising as when people are fearful, their primal instincts begin to engage. Awareness of present surroundings increases, and they may even become irrational, increasing the likelihood that they will believe in the reality of their environment. The closest correlates in theatre and performance are those that place the spectator in an unfamiliar situation. Sleep No More , for example, places the audience in a situation where their freedom to explore also makes them vulnerable to unknown surprises.

Smaller, more intimate, pieces also engage a feeling of presence in audiences through their vulnerability. Hush Productions' Mobile Thriller , for example, takes an audience of three for an evening performance in the back of a car.

The Creational Force 2012: A Virtual Truth of Reality...

Anxiety is heightened by the fact that the audience cannot easily escape the moving vehicle, the way one might in a traditional theatre presentation. In the one-to-one performance, Howells sits and chats with an audience member, they later hold hands, and eventually they lie on a bed together. Doyle writes of her anxiety being late for her appointment which she eventually misses , and suggests she subconsciously sabotaged the meeting out of fear for what might happen during the encounter. In addition to enhancing VR presence, then, fear and anxiety may also enhance the audience's experience of presence on stage and in performance.

Practitioners wishing to engage presence in this way must then design their productions to place the audience in unfamiliar, disorienting, or intimate situations that will heighten their anxiety level, and, perhaps in turn, their sense of presence. Though not comprehensive, Steve Dixon's article A History of Virtual Reality in Performance provides a useful outline of VR's short history in theatre and performance up until A number of examples using HMD technology are included. In Toni Dove and Michael Mackenzie's The Archeology of a Mother Tongue , for example, HMDs are used to explore digital imagery, supplemented by a data glove which transmits data from the user's hand into the virtual environment.

In Char Davies' Osmose , the user wears a HMD as well as a datasuit like the data glove, but transmitting information on the body's position to explore a nature-based environment. It is notable that even in these earlier productions, additional technologies - the data glove and datasuit - supplement the HMD. The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive can similarly be enhanced by auxiliary tracking technologies, in the form of their constellation and lighthouse systems, respectively.

External cameras are used to track the user within a limited space, and reportedly enhance the user's experience of presence, as they can participate more actively in programs such as a cooking demo designed for the HTC Vive. It allows programmers to digitize the user's external environment, so the user can accurately identify real objects around them, such as tables and chairs, within the virtual landscape.

It presents a potential cross-over point between VR and AR, further smoothing the boundaries between real and virtual worlds. As discussed in the previous section, however, HMD technology's inherent limitations can also be dramaturgically beneficial. Sublime and Ridiculous' In My Shoes uses the constraints of HMD technology to explore the disorientation that may arise from brain injuries.

The user wears Vuzix video glasses and iPod earphones, and is taken on a narrative journey that recreates one of the company members' experiences of waking up disoriented after a seizure. The group takes advantage of the user's limited vision and hearing by incorporating elements of touch and smell to encourage a total sense of presence. Limiting the audience's perspective in this case is used to promote understanding and empathy, engaging, to various degrees, all three of Power's modes of presence: Of course, passive spectatorship may be enough for many VR experiences.

The HMDs allow the audience to engage more immediately with the performance's literal present, as they can more easily identify the musical contributions of each instrument. The technology, in this case, is used as a new means of engaging with orchestral works and promoting musical education, which do not necessarily require a high level of interactivity. CAVE technology presents another medium for performance practitioners to explore virtual presence possibilities.

The installation for six users invites participants on a search mission set in the Gulf War. It engages both the literal and fictional modes of presence, as users experience a narrative reality of historical experience. Through a number of different VR scenarios, the spectator is placed in dialogue with a digitally projected virtual counterpart. According to Kaye and Giannachi , p. Rather than attempting to seamlessly blur the line between reality and the virtual, Kaye and Giannachi seek to emphasize the divide between the two and the multiple layers of presence that emerge in contemplating it.

It exemplifies a potential for VR technology to engage the auratic mode of presence, as a user becomes aware of the virtual possibilities of their body. Unfortunately, such VR CAVE experiments are relatively rare in performance, as the technology requires a dedicated space for only one or two users. The above performances notwithstanding, virtual scenography is currently the most predominant way in which VR technologies are presently used on stage, and it is worth contemplating to what extent it can be considered VR.

As a CAVE environment expands from a small cubicle to a full-stage box or backdrop, how does one's feeling of presence shift? Dream using Kinect sensors. In this production, two dancers perform amid a series of interactive projections, including imagery of shape-shifting furniture, crowds of people, text, elements from space, and more abstract objects. It is arguable that the performers will still experience a sensation of virtual presence as they perform, though perhaps it is diminished by the lack of intimacy with the space.

This is to the benefit of the spectators who are able to share the performers' experience of the virtual environment. In this case, multiple modes of presence are engaged. The projected imagery works to make both the audience and dancers feel as though the performers are part of the literal and fictional present of the virtual landscape - that, as part of the narrative, they are actually on a moving conveyor belt, jumping on a trampoline, or moving within a field of asteroids, for example.

At the same time, the auratic mode may be engaged, as the combined human-virtual performance space may heighten or extend the actors' presence for the audience. By contrast, in a production such as Add1ng Mach1ne: VR - Dixon also comments on their earlier productions it may primarily be the audience that experiences a sensation of digital presence between performers and projections, as they are best positioned to take in the combined effect. The scenographic projections, including a bedroom, a ticking clock, a courtroom, and a jail, among others, are all situated upstage of the performers, rather than around them.

They serve primarily to situate the fictional present of the stage action.

In this performance, actors play in front of highly detailed fairytale imagery, such as a spiderweb, a dark forest, or town rooftops. The digital backdrops are so large, however, that it is unlikely the performers experience a sense of immersion with the digital background. Only the audience is truly able to perceive the performers enmeshed in the digital environment, which contributes primarily to the fictional present of the performance. Finally, Dixon also examines the use of VR technology in reproducing stages. In particular, he points to Warwick University's 3D Visualisation Unit, which recreated stages from antiquity, such as the Theatre of Pompeii or the Theatre of Dionysus to be viewed on a screen.

The early work is useful for theatre history scholars as it transports users back to the literal present of the historical setting. The user's awareness of their literal presence is doubled in this case, as they are aware of their actual present, viewing the computer screen, and simultaneously immerse themselves in the literal debatably fictional present of the simulation. Unfortunately the simulation does not incorporate performances on the stage; however, recent work in Japan, has attempted to do so, recreating historical Noh and Kabuki plays on VR stages.

Motion capture was used in both cases, and the performances were viewable on computer screens. Nevertheless, introducing an actual performance allows one to experience the fictional present of the plays, which in turn heightens one's experience of being in the literal present of the virtual historical settings.

The program recreates the simple experience of visiting a movie theatre. The audience member can look and move around the space to choose a seat. He or she can then watch a selected movie, which appears to the user as if it is projected onto a large screen. The idea is rather strange - to use a VR HMD to go to the movies - but it is one of the more popular demos released for the Oculus Rift to date due to the level of presence it engages in the user. The audience feels literally at the movie theatre, and this in turn contributes to their engagement with the fictional present of the movie on screen.

When one considers the increasing use of live-streamed theatre including Kabuki performances into movie theatres, it becomes clear that all the pieces necessary to create either live contemporary or recreated historical performances have already been developed. It is only a question of time, then, before they are combined to allow for VR theatre spectatorship. Screenshot from VR Cinema At the conclusion of his article, Dixon notes that VR continues to fall short of its formidable ambitions, and a decade later the situation is arguably the same. In , consumers will be able select from a number of VR technologies, which will likely further software and hardware development.

They will discover how, in various ways, the technology can transport them to the literal present of different locales, engage them in the narrative storytelling of fictional worlds, and potentially heighten their auratic presence in the eyes of other users. In the very near term, users will decide whether or not the upgraded VR HMDs do indeed provide a significant leap in promoting the sensation of digital presence, and what possibilities the experience might proffer.

Even if the new technology fails, however, the discourse that is emerging provides useful insights into many other fields, including presence in theatre and performance. As seen with Power's three modes of presence and presence definitions posited by technology scholars, there are common elements in both VR and performance that enrich understanding of presence in both realms and also highlight new potential areas for exploration, such as the link between anxiety, disorientation, and feelings of presence.

It is also noteworthy that heightening one mode or facet of presence can in turn stimulate others - engaging in the fictional present of a performance on a virtual historic stage, for example, heightening one's sense of being in another literal location. As discussion and creation continues, further theoretical and practical applications will be uncovered, which will further our understanding of what it means to be present.

Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. The Presence of the Actor. A History of Virtual Reality in Performance. Hold it Against Me. Interactive Technologies and Sociotechnical Systems. The Subjective Experience of Presence. Georgia Institute of Technology, An Introduction to Phenomenology. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Performance, Mediation, Virtual Reality. Personality and Presence in Virtual Reality: At the Heart of it All: The Concept of Presence. Computing and Communication for Crosscultural Interaction.

Latency, Recognition, Quality, and Presence. Dictionary of the Theatre: University of Toronto, Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine. Computers in Human Behavior, Amsterdam, Elsevier, v. Conference Paper, Mar Virtual Reality in Medicine. Springer Science and Business Media, A Quantitative Measure of Telepresence.

Musings on Telepresence and Virtual Presence. Computers and Graphics, Amsterdam, Elsevier, v. Sebastian Samur is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto. He is also interested in intermedial theatre, and has written on the use of androids in medical simulation in Canadian Theatre Review. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. Services on Demand Journal. Evolving Definitions of Digital Presence Discussions around presence in virtual environments have been ongoing since the first technologies emerged in the early s.

Achieving Presence in VR and On Stage While the means and techniques for enhancing presence in VR and on stage vary significantly, they both ultimately aim to provide an immediate experience for the user or spectator - the sense that what is being experienced is real or at least believable and occurring in that moment, perhaps even for the first time. Enno Gottschalk Image 4: Conclusion At the conclusion of his article, Dixon notes that VR continues to fall short of its formidable ambitions, and a decade later the situation is arguably the same.

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September 29, ; Accepted: The additional software-generated images with the virtual scene typically enhance how the real surroundings look in some way. Some AR systems use a camera to capture the user's surroundings or some type of display screen which the user looks at e. The Virtual Reality Modelling Language VRML , first introduced in , was intended for the development of "virtual worlds" without dependency on headsets.

All modern VR displays are based on technology developed for smartphones including: These components led to relative affordability for independent VR developers, and lead to the Oculus Rift Kickstarter offering the first independently developed VR headset. Independent production of VR images and video has increased by the development of omnidirectional cameras , also known as degree cameras or VR cameras , that have the ability to record in all directions, although at low-resolutions or in highly compressed formats for online streaming of video.

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The exact origins of virtual reality are disputed, partly because of how difficult it has been to formulate a definition for the concept of an alternative existence. French avant-garde playwright Antonin Artaud took the view that illusion was not distinct from reality, advocating that spectators at a play should suspend disbelief and regard the drama on stage as reality. Morton Heilig wrote in the s of an "Experience Theatre" that could encompass all the senses in an effective manner, thus drawing the viewer into the onscreen activity.


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  • He built a prototype of his vision dubbed the Sensorama in , along with five short films to be displayed in it while engaging multiple senses sight, sound, smell, and touch. Predating digital computing, the Sensorama was a mechanical device. Heilig also developed what he referred to as the "Telesphere Mask" patented in The patent application described the device as "a telescopic television apparatus for individual use The spectator is given a complete sensation of reality, i. Around the same time, Douglas Engelbart used computer screens both as input and output devices.

    In , Ivan Sutherland , with the help of his student Bob Sproull , created what was widely considered to be the first head-mounted display HMD system for use in immersive simulation applications. It was primitive both in terms of user interface and realism , and the HMD to be worn by the user was so heavy that it had to be suspended from the ceiling. The graphics comprising the virtual environment were simple wire-frame model rooms.

    The formidable appearance of the device inspired its name, The Sword of Damocles. The VR industry mainly provided VR devices for medical, flight simulation, automobile industry design, and military training purposes from to The program was a crude virtual simulation of Aspen, Colorado in which users could wander the streets in one of the three modes: The combined system created a stereoscopic image with a field of view wide enough to create a convincing sense of space. The users of the system have been impressed by the sensation of depth [field of view] in the scene and the corresponding realism.

    The LEEP system provides the basis for most of the current virtual reality helmets available today. Atari founded a research lab for virtual reality in , but the lab was closed after two years due to the Atari Shock North American video game crash of By the s the term "virtual reality" was popularized by Jaron Lanier, one of the modern pioneers of the field.

    Lanier had founded the company VPL Research in Sandin and Thomas A. Developed as Cruz-Neira's PhD thesis, it involved a multi-projected environment, similar to the holodeck , allowing people to see their own bodies in relation to others in the room.

    The Use of Virtual Reality in Psychology: A Case Study in Visual Perception

    Between , Nicole Stenger created Angels , the first real-time interactive immersive movie. The interaction was facilitated with a dataglove and high-resolution goggles. The system enabled the overlay of physically real 3D virtual objects registered with a user's direct view of the real world, producing the first true augmented reality experience enabling sight, sound, and touch.

    The s saw the first widespread commercial releases of consumer headsets. It used LCD screens in the visor, stereo headphones, and inertial sensors that allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user's head. It was able to track head movement and featured 3D polygon graphics in stereoscopic 3D , powered by the Sega Model 1 arcade system board.

    Dark Forces , System Shock and Quake. In its earliest form, the company struggled to produce a commercial version of "The Rig", which was realized in prototype form as a clunky steel contraption with several computer monitors that users could wear on their shoulders. The concept was later adapted into the personal computer-based, 3D virtual world Second Life. It was installed in Laval , France. By , Google introduced Street View , a service that shows panoramic views of an increasing number of worldwide positions such as roads, indoor buildings and rural areas.

    It also features a stereoscopic 3D mode, introduced in In , Palmer Luckey designed the first prototype of the Oculus Rift. This prototype, built on a shell of another virtual reality headset, was only capable of rotational tracking.

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    However, it boasted a degree field of vision that was previously unseen in the consumer market at the time. This initial design would later serve as a basis from which the later designs came. In , Valve discovered and freely shared the breakthrough of low-persistence displays which make lag-free and smear-free display of VR content possible.

    In early , Valve showed off their SteamSight prototype, the precursor to both consumer headsets released in It shared major features with the consumer headsets including separate 1K displays per eye, low persistence, positional tracking over a large area, and fresnel lenses. The user places their smartphone in the cardboard holder, which they wear on their head. The set included tracking technology called Lighthouse, which utilized wall-mounted "base stations" for positional tracking using infrared light. By there were at least companies developing VR-related products. Dynamic binaural audio was common to most headsets released that year.

    However, haptic interfaces were not well developed, and most hardware packages incorporated button-operated handsets for touch-based interactivity. Visually, displays were still of a low-enough resolution and frame-rate that images were still identifiable as virtual. In early , a patent filed by Sony showed they were developing a similar location tracking technology to the VIVE for PlayStation VR, with the potential for the development of a wireless headset.

    At Facebook F8 , Oculus showed a new prototype codenamed Half Dome which has a varifocal display with degrees field of view and has the same form factor and weight as their current consumer device. VR is most commonly used in entertainment applications such as gaming and 3D cinema. Consumer virtual reality headsets were first released by video game companies in the early-mid s.

    Since , virtual reality has been installed onto a number of roller coasters and theme parks. In robotics , virtual reality has been used to control robots in telepresence and telerobotic systems. Here, virtual reality not only offers insights into the manipulation and locomotion of robotic technology but also shows opportunities for inspection.

    In social sciences and psychology, virtual reality offers a cost-effective tool to study and replicate interactions in a controlled environment. For instance, there is the case of the virtual reality exposure therapy VRET , a form of exposure therapy for treating anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder PTSD and phobias.

    Surgery training can be done through virtual reality. Virtual reality has been used in rehabilitation since the s. Despite numerous studies conducted, good quality evidence of its efficacy compared to other rehabilitation methods without sophisticated and expensive equipment is lacking for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

    VR can simulate real workspaces for workplace occupational safety and health purposes, educational purposes, and training purposes. It can be used to provide learners with a virtual environment where they can develop their skills without the real-world consequences of failing. It has been used and studied in primary education , [57] military, [58] [59] astronaut training, [60] [61] [62] flight simulators [63] , driver training [64] and bridge inspection. The first fine art virtual world was created in the s.

    When commercially available technology became more widespread, VR festivals began to emerge in the mids. The first uses of VR in museum settings began in the s, seeing a significant increase in the mids. Additionally, museums have begun making some of their content virtual reality accessible. Immersive VR engineering systems enable engineers to see virtual prototypes prior to the availability of any physical prototypes. Virtual reality's growing market presents an opportunity and an alternative channel for digital marketing. A study revealed that the majority of goods are still purchased in physical stores.

    There have been many novels that reference and describe forms of virtual reality. A comprehensive and specific fictional model for virtual reality was first published in in the short story "Pygmalion's Spectacles" [76] by Stanley G. In the s and s, Cyberpunks viewed the technology as a potential means for social change. The recreational drug subculture praised virtual reality not only as a new art form, but as an entirely new frontier.

    There are many health and safety considerations of virtual reality. Most virtual reality systems come with consumer warnings, including: As many as one in people may experience these symptoms, and they are more common among people under the age of 20, which is part of why most VR headsets advise against children using VR headsets. Other problems may occur in physical interactions with one's environment. While wearing VR headsets, people quickly lose awareness of their real-world surroundings and may injure themselves by tripping over, or colliding with real-world objects.

    A number of unwanted symptoms have been caused by prolonged use of virtual reality, [80] and these may have slowed proliferation of the technology. For example, in , Nintendo released a gaming console known as the Virtual Boy. Worn as a headpiece and connected to a typical controller, the Virtual Boy received much criticism for its negative physical effects, including "dizziness, nausea, and headaches".

    When the vestibular system, the body's internal balancing system, does not experience the motion that it expects from visual input through the eyes, the user may experience VR sickness. This can also happen if the VR system does not have a high enough frame rate, or if there is a lag between the body's movement and the onscreen visual reaction to it. The persistent tracking required by all VR systems makes the technology particularly useful for, and vulnerable to, mass surveillance.

    The expansion of VR will increase the potential and reduce the costs for information gathering of personal actions, movements and responses. In addition, there are conceptual and philosophical considerations and implications associated with the use of virtual reality. What the phrase "virtual reality" means or refers to can be ambiguous.


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    • Cline argued in that through virtual reality techniques will be developed to influence human behavior, interpersonal communication , and cognition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 14 September Computer-simulated environment simulating physical presence in real or imagined worlds. For other uses, see Virtuality disambiguation. Not to be confused with Simulated reality.