Living in a Virtual World

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In a world where technology seems to be over taking outdoor adventures, arts and crafts and many other childhood activities, to what extent does virtual reality imitate life? Movies such as Gamer with lead actor Gerad Bulter give the ideal display of how virtual reality is seemingly over taking the lives of many who prefer to ???live??? in their virtual world instead of the real world itself. The film displays actor Gerad Butler as a real human, but is being controlled by another person, which to him is a virtual reality.

Management information systems is the founding base on which virtual reality is created and also plays a crucial role to the evolving business world. Virtual reality has its??? faults and benefits for management and information systems, the social life of upcoming generations and business affairs. What is virtual reality when broken down in MIS? How does it work? Many engineers who create VR refer to it as a virtual environment that is developed through the use of computer systems to make a three-dimensional world that allows the user to feel as though they are actually in reality.

This is called immersion and when joined with interactivity is known as telepresence. When the VR is working to its??? full potential ???experience causes you to become unaware of your real surroundings and focus on your existence inside the virtual environment???, states computer scientist Jonathan Steuer. In a proposal made by Steuer there are two parts to immersion in which he explains as depth of information and breath of information. These two components each have different meanings.

Depth in virtual reality information indicates the quality of the data signals and breadth refers to ???the number of sensory dimensions simultaneously presented??? INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (Steuer, www. howstuffworks. com). A key important factor in VR is the ability for it to allow the end user to change perspectives with ease and at a continuous pace. ???Dr. Frederick Brooks, a pioneer in VR technology and theory, says that displays must project a frame rate of at least 20 – 30 frames per second in order to create a convincing user experience??? INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (Strickland, www. howstuffworks. com).

When users plays PlayStation Wii and Xbox live the haptic system is what gives the user force feedback and touch interaction. This is what allows the user to feel intimately submerged in their virtual environment. There are many components to the virtual reality that are necessary to make the VR as real as possible such as: audio units, the reality engine, the head mounted display INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (HMD), and gloves or hand devices. These components are not included in every VR device, but these are the components needed for the ultimate virtual environment experience.

A personal computer INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (PC) is the main format and hardware of the reality engine but with more computing power. Pixels are thousands of dots and create the images seen by the VR user. Helmets and glasses are used for head mounted displays INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (HMD) and utilize liquid crystal technology INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (LCD) or cathode-ray tube INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (CRT). HMDs break the one-dimensional realm of televisions and computer screens by allowing the end user to look at the images in any direction or angle they please. The audio units are utilized either through voice recognition to allow the VR to respond to the user or sound outputs creating the expected noise of the environment.

The last component of virtual reality is a glove or external device that allows the user to interact with the virtual world. Most common to the typical user is a controller of some sort. PlayStation came out with the Wii and it uses a joystick that allows the end user to interact in the virtual environment of the game. Usually in most hand devices magnetic tracking is ???used to determine where the hand is in space in relation to the virtual scene??? INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (Anusha, www. virtualrealitysystems-anusha. blogspot. com)

Now that virtual reality is broken down and explained, how does virtual reality relate to the lives of the users? Some major arguments have been raised about the mental and social affects of the virtual world on users. One such arguments demands that VR is a great social leveler, where it allows all types of people to come together in a virtual world where they interact with one another INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (www. bilawchuk. com, Biocca and Levy 1995).

Another argument states that VR ???could lead to low self-esteem, feelings of orthlessness and insignificance, even self destructive arts??? INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (Biocca and Levy 1995). This argument holds a strong significance in that users who completely submerge themselves into the virtual world can lose sense of reality and may have social impairments when interacting with others in real life situations. When the user begins to frequently encounter negative social interactions their level of confidence quickly diminishes and they re-enter their virtual world because they can create their own identity, one they perceive to be desirable by others.

The other aspect of this argument is that virtual reality brings together many levels, stereotypes, ages, cultures, and classes of people together in one world. This can prove that it does allow them to interact with one another through the virtual reality. Where as in other real life settings they might not due to social and cultural norms. This provides a benefit to those who might not have the opportunity to interact with others that are considered to be ???above??? them, but it also hinders them in the fact that the person they are interacting with may or may not be who they say they are.

Gaming interactions and desensitization is another affect that virtual reality has on the end user. Many young and teenage boys play virtual games that involve extreme violence and desensitize them from what is considered okay and acceptable in reality and the virtual world. This poses a potential threat to society and the future of upcoming generations. Although virtual gaming may reduce the social and cultural behaviors of the end user, virtual reality has proven to have many positive affects on society as a whole.

Aside from gaming for a leisurely activity, virtual reality gaming has helped users with neural and physical rehabilitation. ???Repetition is a key ingredient in almost all areas of motor rehabilitation; therefore, the capacity to provide an ever changing environment that continues to train the same underlying deficit is a major advantage over real-world situations??? INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (G. N. Lewis, C. Woods, J. A. Rosie, K. M. McPherson, pg. 454).

As stated earlier effective virtual worlds provide a continuously changing environment for the end user and when combined with necessary aspects of neural and physical motor rehabilitation VR gaming proves to be beneficial. Now that we understand how virtual reality works and the positive and negative affects it has on the end user, what role does virtual reality play in business affairs? Virtual reality is increasingly enhancing the ability for businesses to grow and expand. VR allows companies to give physical demonstrations of products or services before it is ever created.

The magnitude of strength this provides to companies is limitless in the fact that they now can give their consumer the product without having to actually make it first. ???Using various virtual reality software, businesses will be able to simulate their entire operation??? INSERT INTO `cofwp_posts` VALUES (Briggs, USA Today). An example of this is a virtual display of a building. Many potential customers could have the ability to approach a contractor or architect with a design in mind and have them create a three dimensional blueprint using a virtual engine that displays a 3D image of what the building will look like.

Seeing the finished product in such a realistic view brings life and ???reality??? to the consumer. The virtual building also allows the consumer to decide whether there is anything they want changed or altered before the building even is constructed. Another way virtual reality can help a business flourish can be internal through employee training. A virtual reality tool can help many types of businesses train an employee on how to properly do their task without actually performing.

This creates less error by allowing them to receive and perform a ???real-life??? experience through the virtual environment before actually performing the task and potentially doing something wrong. Surgery simulation through virtual reality training poses as an exemplary example of how important it is. A surgeon that has an effective VR simulation tool will have better ability to perform surgery without error than one who had little to no experience with VR training. In conclusion of VR???s role in the world of business, it proves to be a brilliant dynamic tool.

When people here the word virtual reality, they often think of people who sit in their rooms alone playing video games completely submerged in their own world. Virtual reality is much more than that. It is a technology that has reached the bounds of what we once thought was unimaginable. Virtual reality provides many beneficial aspects to the world, virtual gaming helps rehabilitating patients, businesses grow and improve, and give insight to many ideas that could not be envisioned before.

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