Virtual reality: definition, applications, advantages, examples

virtual reality
virtual reality

Last updated: December 31, 2022

Virtual Reality and augmented reality are terms that we hear coming up more and more often in conversations. But if you don't know too much about it, it's easy to find yourself lost.

We can even say that sometimes these new terms are simply misused by the people who will use them, which does not necessarily help with the general understanding of them either.

So, in this article, we decided to focus more specifically on virtual reality. It's simple, we are going to give you a simple definition of the phenomenon, then take a little interest in its history.

Once this first round is done, we will then take a closer look the different applications of this technology and the benefits it can bring in all these areas, which explains its growth in recent years.

What is virtual reality?

The principle of virtual reality, it's simple. It is a device that will simulate an entire environment digitally. So you project yourself into this reality via your computer or a helmet for example.

This is where it should not be confused with the augmented reality which it bases on what is really in front of you and simply adds digital elements to it. No, everything around you has been digitized.

So be careful, there is still a small trap. Indeed, you may very well end up with an environment that is indeed real. For example, visiting a museum that really exists.

However, virtual reality implies that this element has been completely recreated virtually. So, for example, it's different from a simple video of this museum. There you can interact as if you are actually there.

History of virtual reality

So, we just talked about virtual reality headsets and we could say that this technology is recent. In fact, these helmets have only been easily available on the market for about ten years.

Well, if these headsets did indeed democratize for the general public quite a short time ago, the development of this virtual reality technology dates back to well before that time.

Indeed, the first virtual reality machine was invented by Morton heilig in 1956. . This machine called Sensorama then allows the user by plunging their head and hands inside to appeal to several senses.

With regard to virtual reality headsets, we owe them to la NASA who developed the concept over the years 1990 for research purposes. Finally a few years later, these helmets they will switch to the field of video game like the Virtual boy, but depending on the years, it will be a failure.

Applications and Benefits

Now that we know a little more about this virtual reality, it is time to take an interest in domains that use this technology and you will see that there are many of them.

The video game

As we have just said, video games are one of the first things we will think of when we talk about virtual reality. Indeed, for years and years, the concept has tried to find a place.

For example, we were talking to you earlier about virtual boy released in 1995. The problem is that the nintendo headset is extremely expensive and average quality which will lead to a violent failure.

Nintendo Virtual Boy Headset

We will have to wait for thearrival of Oculus ten years ago for the phenomenon to finally explode. Today, virtual reality in video games has a place, but it is still a little on the fringes.

In question, the purchase price of the helmet and the need to have a high-performance machine. However, the main advantage of this technology is that the player's immersion is simply complete.

Some of the most popular virtual reality headsets include:

Social networks

The second application is ultimately quite close to the first. Indeed, to understand all this, it must be seen that Oculus after an initial success will not be long in being redeemed.

This redemption, it will be recorded by Facebook and we suspect that when a group like this bought Oculus, it was to make a push in this area. From then on, we saw new social networks appear.

The goal is simple, you arrive in a place such as a virtual bar for example and you will be able to discuss with the other people present on site. Again, the main obstacle to all of this is the cost of equipment for private use.

However, the big advantage is that, for example, when we see the restrictions applied because of the Coronavirus, we can continue to maintain social ties via this virtual reality which allows us to always go out and discuss, even to play with it. doing.


One of the historic applications of virtual reality is quite simply the field of aviation. Indeed, training pilots is long and above all expensive in terms of equipment and fuel.

So, it is quite logical that this virtual reality quickly became democratized. You have probably already seen these famous simulators which take the form of an airplane cockpit and allow you to simulate a flight.

We can then simulate everything, whether it is the weather conditions or even different damages for train pilots to face all situations. It's so practical that today it is one of the major virtual reality applications in the professional world.

Real estate and museums

Finally, we revealed the last application to you a little in the article when we took the example of museums. Access to these museums is sometimes complicated, whether because of closures or simply the distance.

But today, with virtual reality, you will be able to visit a museum on the other side of the planet without leaving your home. In terms of access to culture, this is something very important for the future.

Well, in the same way, if you can visit a museum virtually, you can do it with a house. An effective way to save you long journeys to visit properties and therefore save time for you and the agency.

In summary, with virtual reality we can:

  • Provide an even more immersive gaming experience.
  • Continue to see social relationships with friends.
  • Train airplane pilots.
  • Have access to distant museums.
  • To be able to make remote visits to real estate.