Virtual Reality Technology Terminology
Below is a curated list of terms relating to virtual reality technology.
- augmented reality (AR)
in augmented reality (AR) the visible natural world is overlaid with a layer of digital content
VR is the power to take you anywhere, MR and AR is the power to bring anything to you
The Reality Scale
a CAVE (cave automatic virtual environment) is a virtual reality environment made up of between three and six walls that form a room-sized cube
Projectors display a virtual world onto the interior walls of the CAVE and are then controlled by the movement of an experiencer from within the CAVE.
- data glove
an interactive device – often resembling a glove worn on the hand – which connects to a computer system and facilitates fine-motion control within virtual reality
- eye tracking
haptic technology simulates the sense of touch through the sensation of pressure (usually on the hands via a glove)
- head mounted display (HMD)
a set of goggles or a helmet with tiny monitors in front of each eye to generate images seen by the wearer as three-dimensional
- head tracking
the time delay or lag between activating a process (change in input from the experiencer) and its accomplishment (the visual effect)
High-latency can lead to a detached experience and can also contribute to motion sickness / dizziness.
refers to the process of moving from one place to another
This is most commonly used to refer to movement within the virtual environment e.g. how an avatar navigates the virtual world, but can also refer to movement outside of the virtual environment e.g. how the experiencer navigates the real-world while in a virtual experience.
Locomotion mechanics in virtual reality can be broken down into three primary categories:
- mixed reality (MR)
mixed reality (MR) is similar to augmented reality (AR) except virtual objects are integrated into the natural world
For example, a virtual ball beneath your desk would be blocked from view unless you bent down to look at it.
- positional audio
audio that is triggered based on the position of the headset
For example, in a crowded scene the experiencer would be given the ability to choose which conversation they listen to based on where they are looking.
New Wave by Directors Samir Mallal and Aron Hjartarson demonstrates the positional audio approach.
- virtual reality (VR)
virtual reality (VR) places the experiencer in another location entirely. Whether that location has been generated by a computer or captured by video, it entirely occludes the experiencer’s natural surroundings.
WebVR is an emerging technology that aims to present virtual reality content in traditional web browsing interfaces
A demo of WebVR can be found on the A-Frame website.