A Virtual Reality Timeline

... which will never be quite complete, but which offers a general guide of how VR has evolved

When

Who

Where

What

pre-history

humankind

Altamira, Lascaux, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, etc

cave paintings; storytelling; ritual dance, other ritual paraphernalia

always

children

everywhere

imaginative (immersive) play

now

humankind

almost everywhere

"a willing suspension of disbelief": theatre, television, arcade games

13th Cent.

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337)

Italy

(3D) perspective in art

http://gallery.euroweb.hu/tours/giotto/

http://www.ora.com/people/staff/stevet/fdnc/ch22.html

1833

Sir Charles Wheatstone

England

the stereoscope; improved by Sir David Brewster, 1844

1838



The Stereopticon

1928 - 1939

Edwin Land


develops Polaroid glasses (1928). Shows first experimental stereoscopic (3D) film (1935). First stereo feature film produced for Chrysler Coroporation's exhibit at New York World Fair, 1939

1929

The Link Trainer (flight simulator)

USA

Link patents original design for flight simulator. Later used for pilot training during WWII

1930

Herman Ives

???

lenticular lenses; 'multiplexed' 3D images capitalising on binocular parallax for the illusion of depth

1952



The Cinerama Projection System

1958



Philco Television head-mounted display (HMD)

1960, 1962

Morton Heilig

New York

The 'Stereoscopic Television Apparatus for Individual Use' ‚ a head-mounted stereophonic TV display (1960); and the 'Sensorama Simulator' (1962)


Douglas Engelbart



1965

Ivan Sutherland

IFIP Congress

Presents a paper 'The Ultimate Display', at a conference of the International Federation of Information Processing Societies,.setting forth explicit programme for the development of computer graphics and the design of virtual worlds

1966



2D molecular modeller developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

1966+

Ivan Sutherland

MIT (1966); University of Utah (1966+)

invents HMD (1966); first fully functional HMD with first virtual world software, January 1st, 1970

1968



Computer Graphics and HMDs first used for flight simulators.

from late 1960s to present

Frederick Brooks, Henry Fuchs, Stephen Pizer, Warren Robinett

Dept. of Computer Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

scientific visualisation; pharmaceutical chemistry (molcular modeling) and medical imaging; ARM (Argonne remote manipulator) with force feedback; 'architectural walkthrough' of Sitterson Hall

1972

Frederick Brooks and graduate students

Dept. of Computer Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

works starts on combining force-reflection feedback with interactive computer graphics; ARMs obtained from Argonne National Laboratories

1978+

Association pour la Cration et la Recherche sur les Outils d'Expression (ACROE)

LIFIA, Grenoble

force-feedback devices ('virtual violin') for sound synthesis; transmission of gesture as a means for linking human eye-hand skills and imagination with computerised rendering tools

1983(?)

Brenda Laurel, Scott Fisher, Michael Naimark, Jaron Lanier, Eric Hulteen, Susan Brennan, Thomas Zimmerman

Atari Research Laboratory, Sunnyvale, California.

Interactive 3D games

1984

William Gibson

[n/a]

the novel Neuromancer introduces the notion of 'cyberspace' and the Matrix

1985-1990

Scott Fisher, Warren Robinett

NASA/Ames Aerospace Human Factors Research Division

First use of combined Dataglove (from VPL) and HMD in the Virtual Environment Display (VIVED) system. 3D sound added. Evolves into Virtual Interface Environment Workstation (VIEW); voice commands and speech recognition. Scott Fisher leaves NASA to co-found Telepresence Research with Brenda Laurel, 1990.

198?+

Jaron Lanier, Thomas Zimmerman

VPL Research Inc, Palo Alto, California

Lanier and Zimmerman co-found VPL Research Inc. Evolution of Lanier's "visual programming language" Mandala / Grasp / Embrace. Zimmerman's optical-flex-sensing glove ('DataGlove'). Ann Lasco-Harvill joins VPL, 1987, to work on development of first DataSuit. First off-the-shelf vendor of VR systems from 1988.

1986

Advanced Telecommunications Research

Kansai Science City, Kyoto

ATR established. Multimillion dollar multidisciplinary project to enable telecollaboration in virtual spaces, without the use of HMDs, gloves or body suit, through the construction of surrounding 'virtual rooms'

1987

VPL, AGE, Mattel

VPL Research Inc, Palo Alto, California

development of the $100 PowerGlove for the video games market.

1988

John Walker

Autodesk

Sept 1988: John Walker's "Through the Looking Glass: Beyond User Interfaces" paper launches Autodesk's "Cyberpunk Initiative".

1989

Autodesk / VPL

California

Autodesk and VPL (DataGlove, head-tracker) begin commercial development of VR

1989

VPL & Autodesk

San Francisco (VPL); Anaheim (Autodesk)

'Virtual Reality Day', June 7th, 1989. VPL demonstrate their RB2 ('reality built for two') system at TEXPO in San Francisco Civic Auditorium; Autodesk's "Weird Science" cyberspace demo at Anaheim.

???

Thomas Furness

Human Interface Technology Laboratory (Seattle)

project to overcome HMD problem of peripheral vision by inscribing images directly to the retina

1990

HITL

Human Interface Technology Laboratory (Seattle)

HITL creates a virtual Seattle.

1990

???

University of Texas, Dept of Architecture

First Conference on Cyberspace (May 1990)

1991

VPL, UNC, Human Interface Technology Lab, Media Lab

[various]

"Reality Net" ‚ RB2-based (?)

1992

Neal Stephenson

[n/a]

publishes Snow Crash

199?

BICC

?

Virtuosi(?) - telecollaboration through virtual presence

199?

Margaret Minsky

'The Snake Pit', MIT Media Lab

modeling haptic perception

1993

Autodesk

USA

Autodesk launches Cyberspace Developers Kit

1993

Division

UK

Division (founded 1989) goes public and first UK VR initiative set up.

1993

John Carmack, John Romero, Adrian Carmack

id Software, Dallas

Doom released; Quake released 1996

mid 1990s



Mars exploration robots controlled from Earth through VR.

1996




2010



"By 2010, that first room of Sutherland's will have multiplied itself into a virtual cosmos. It is impossible to say, in today's terms, how vast that future cyberworld will be." (Howard Rheingold, 1991 Virtual Reality)