Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive experience in which a person uses a VR device, usually a headset with a screen and a controller for each hand, to enter a three-dimensional, computer-generated world. Virtual reality is designed to feel as realistic as the world you live in, so you can explore the virtual world in front of you and it will feel as though you are actually there. To that end, several different types of technology have emerged that offer varying levels of immersion, from non-immersive virtual reality to fully immersive virtual reality, semi-immersive virtual reality, augmented reality, and collaborative VR.
Non-immersive virtual reality technology provides users with a computer-generated environment that allows them to control what they see on the screen while still being aware of what’s going on around them. This type of VR relies on a computer or video game console, keyboard, mouse, and controllers. It is the least immersive and interactive type of technology, as it provides a single display for content, meaning that it is only perceived in two dimensions: height and width. Video games would be the most common example of non-immersive virtual reality. You can still control what you see and do in the game, and that has an effect on the game environment, but you aren’t directly interacting with it.
Collaborative virtual reality is a space or platform that allows users to come together in virtual settings from remote locations to communicate through text and speech. The users may play games together or just talk to one another, but they are able to do this from their homes without seeing the other players in person. This allows for collaborative efforts between people who are otherwise separated by geography. Common examples are virtual meeting rooms where remote employees can work together on projects.