Components of the Virtual System

If you think that Virtual Reality is all about some prat wearing a silly helmet, you're not seeing the full picture. In fact, virtual reality equipment is constantly evolving and improving. The original VR equipment consisted simple of a large monitor in front of the user, taking up the entire field of view. This was hardly convincing. The next step in development was the ubiquitous HMD, or head-mounted display. This allows for stereoscopic, full-field displays. It is this area that likely will hold the most promise for the future, since it is light-weight, small, and fairly portable.

The other main component of a VR system is the input device. At present, most systems use a sensor-equipped glove or joystick to control motion and, in some cases, provide tactile feedback. This is obviously inadequate for a complete experience. Likely avenues of research are full-body tactile suits that would satisfy all five of the body's senses, or chambers that would achieve the same effect. The suit is a more likely result, since the construction of such a chamber would be financially and technologically challenging.

Here is a list of some of the more common input/output devices available for Virtual Reality at present:

Head-Mounted Equipment


BOOMs (Binocular Omni-Orientation Monitor)


Tactile Facilities

Navigation Devices