The History of VR

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The History of VR
Immersive, thrilling, the latest technology. That's Virtual Reality. VR takes us to worlds we know (looking at you MSFS) and those unknown (looking at you No Man's Sky), things we cannot experience in life (Skyrim…), or simply things we want to experience but we want the convenience (watching a movie in our Whirlgig cinema). Pimax is now 8 years old and builds everything before and around us. Let's have a look back on the history of VR.

The history of VR: Beginnings

Virtual Reality was foretold in 1935, in Stanley G. Weinbaum's story "Pygmalion’s Spectacles", where a pair of goggles lets the wearer experience a virtual world with vision, smell, taste, and touch.

In decades following, many followed with experimentations, but the term Virtual Reality was first coined by Jaron Lanier from VPL Research, in the late 80s.

Photo by Kevin Kelly, reposted with permission

Lanier paved the way for VR, not just the hardware but also brought in the creativity to free ourselves from the limitations of our reality. Lanier turned himself into a lobster and created live concerts with instruments designed for VR. This was a form of art, in the late 80s.

The VPL EyePhone with a 320x240 resolution per eye, at 30 Hz. We can laugh at that now, but actually for 1989, it's more impressive than anything on the market now.

After that, interest in Virtual Reality had ups and downs, like the ebbing of the tide. But it always moved forward.

SEGA had the VR-1 for in an amusement park in Japan, Nintendo introduced the Virtual Boy, and R-Zone had the Tiger, the Virtuality Visette. Many many more came out, the VictorMaxx Cybermaxx in 1994, Forte VFX1 a year later, and the Sony PUD J5A , and the eMagin Z800 3DVisor.

And then in 1999, The Matrix came out.

The Matrix further inspired creators of today to let us escape into virtual worlds, and we all build forward on this inspiration. Tron in 1982 and Lawnmower Man in 1992 spoke about Virtual Reality, but The Matrix brought the topic into mainstream culture.

Commercial success

Early VR headsets were never embraced by the public, as they were prototypes lacking content, usability or feasibility.

But the era of modern Virtual Reality History started in 2012, when a young Palmer Luckey started a Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift. Raising 2.5 million dollars, it's a clear barrier broken between commercial failures and success: We can say the Oculus Rift was the first commercial success in VR, and at Pimax, we actually owe a lot to the work done by Palmer.

Soon, interest in VR skyrocketed. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 and Google game out with the Google Cardboard. With the Glass, Google also introduced the world to Augmented Reality.

VR Gold Rush

Loads of brands came into the market. It was the Virtual Reality gold rush.

- Razer OSVR
- Pimax 4K
- Microsoft Hololens
- LG 360
- 3DGlasses Blubur
- Eyesight Raptor
- DPVR M2 Pro
- HTC Vive
- Playstation VR
- Vrgineers VR Hero 5K
- ClassVR
- Snapdragon 845
- ANTVR Cyclop
- Waxter Neo
- RealWear HMT-1
- Lenovo Explorer
- Dell Visor
- HPVR1000
- Acer AH101
- Samsung Odessy
- Medion Erazer X1000
- MAD Gaze Vader
- Pico Goblin
- Goertek
- Fujitsu FMVHDS1
- Asus HC102
- Shadow Creator Halomini
- Xiaomi Mi VR
- Dream Glass
- Magic Leap 1
- ThirdEye X2
- Huawei VR Glass
- HP Reverb
- Valve Index
- Rokid Glass 2
- Vuzix M400
- StarVR One
- QWR VRone 4K
- Nreal Light
- Realmax Qian
- Julbo EVAD-1
- XRSpace Manova
- Skyworth W1
- Canon MREAL S1
- Epson Moverio BT-40
- Nolo X1 2021
- Snap Spectacles 2021
- AnjaLens AnjaX
- Arpara VR
- Engo Eyewear
- XYZ Atom
- iQIYU Qiyu
- Dream Iristick G2
- Tilt Five
- NuEyes Pro 3e
- Oppo Air Glass
- INMO Air
- P&C Solution Metalense
- Lynx RR
- Viture One
- Varjo Aero

Only a few of these brands are still around, or invested in VR.

Pimax was incredibly inspired by the Oculus, but we wanted more than 1080 x 1200 per eye. In 2015, Pimax launched the 4K with 1920 x 2160 per eye. The 5K had 2560x1440 per eye, and the 8K took that to 3840×2160 per eye, first upscaled, then native. The Crystal is 2880x2880.

Designing and producing a VR headset, there's a lot that goes into it. The hardware, the software, audio, room tracking, controller tracking, processing, power management, internal storage, RAM, the displays, the cable management. We do it all, but we build on all that came before us.

Thank you for challenging us with VR history. It's not easy, we've made mistakes and will make more.

The future of VR

The future of VR is bright, and it's not just Pimax.
We're inspired by all that came before us ~ and what's beside us.

- Bigscreen Beyond
- Somnium VR1
- Varjo XR4
- Quest 3
- Apple Vision Pro
- Pimax 12K

It is the greatest story ever told.
But it is not done yet.
The oasis awaits.

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