Using maths to create Virtual Reality πŸ§ πŸ‘€πŸ€©

I think that we can all agree that Virtual Reality or VR is pretty cool. We all want to escape sometimes, and using VR we can! We can step out of our office or classroom and onto a hawaiian beach 🏝 or the top of Mount Everest πŸ” . Not only can VR create a fully immersive gaming/entertainment experience, but we see it being used more and more for educational purposes such as simulating historical events 🏰 or even in military πŸ‘©πŸΌβ€βœˆοΈor medical πŸ§‘πŸ½β€βš•οΈtraining. Training for such high risk activities in virtual reality is clearly a massive benefit of this technology considering the risks are reduced to zero!

Virtual reality is exactly what it says on the tin – your brain is tricked into thinking that the virtual/computer simulated environment that you see, is reality! But how does it do this?! –
Well, if you look at an object with one eye closed and then swap to the other eye being closed, the object appears to move slighlty. This is because each of our eyes actually do see the world around us with a slightly different perspective πŸ‘πŸ‘. It’s our brain 🧠 that joins these 2 perspectives together and creates the depth in what we are seeing in our 3D world, depending on the difference between the images obtained by each eye. For example, if we look at that object again with each eye closed but this time bring the object closer, the object seems to move even more! We use this to create virtual reality with the help of…(you guessed it) maths! πŸ™ŒπŸ» We know that the average distance between our 2 eyes (specifically the pupils) is about 65mm, we can therefore draw a traingle between each of our eyes and an object and use trigonometry to calculate the (angle) difference between the perspectives of the image for each eye, given the distance of the object. This allows us to create 2 perspectives that are able to trick the brain into thinking that there is depth and, therefore, that we are seeing a 3D reality πŸ‘€.

In addition to this, sensors measuring the position and angle of your head in a VR headset allows the tracking of your head movements in (x,y,z) coordinates. This enables the images to be adjusted accordingly so that you feel fully transported into the simulated reality.🀩

You can try virtual reality for yourself at the Deutsches science museum in Munich (see video).


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