Overview momentous development of technology that requires faster

Overview about Virtual Reality especially in Architecture field



Marta Skorupko

for Society of Knowledge,

Faculty of
Architecture Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

[email protected]



Virtual reality is really nowadays topic in human
live. Today Virtual reality is developing really fast and it is interesting
future of architecture, design, games, and education. In this paper i am going
to describe the past, present and conceivable future of creating realistic
environment like images, sounds and other factors that are supposed to look
natural. In last few years, there have been notices of rapid develop of the
interest of virtual reality filed. World’s dominant companies in the technology
and design department develop this VR technology with incredible speed and with
invest of huge sums of money. Virtual reality gives to the user many
possibilities of using it starting from science, work or entertainment but also
considered in architectural, desing, technological and social aspects. And
there is every year new directions of research about this technology and
potential applications. Those applications may be useful in the future to
present architecture in entirely new and innovative way or could even replace
traditional drawings altogether. It gives designer possibilty to go into his
project and walk arond, nowadays there are even tested softwares which allows
for design and change desing in reall time when we are inside project using UR
glasses and special controllers. Virtual reality is relatively new compare to
many other technologies so for now it is nearly impossible to predict the
positive and negative influences on the life of average people. This can be the
key to a new world, more exciting and enabling more opportunities. However,
also virtual reality maybe can be dangerous and it can replace the real


Keywords: Virtual Reality; Virtual Environment; simulation; architecture; graphics







Computer graphics has been in used in
people’s lives already for decades. In the present, it is almost impossible to
imagine an architect, engineer, or interior designer who could work without a
graphics workstation. During the last few years, there has been a rapid and momentous
development of technology that requires faster and better computer equipment. Virtual
reality gives possible for every user to move into the artificial world.


Virtual Reality


Virtual reality can be named as an
artificial environment. VR is typically related to computer technologies that
use software to generate the realistic images, sounds and other sensations that
replicate a real environment. There is possibility for use virtual reality with
computer or for example with smartphone and basically experienced through two
of the five senses – sight and sound. But if we will use special moving
platforms, some additional windmill, smell and similar, then we can experience
virtual reality with our five senses.




      How we can use Virtual Reality in our normal life?


Virtual Reality
gives us a lot of possibilities. It not only to helps us to explore completely
different worlds from which we currently live, as for example in games where we
can feel even more like we are part of this artificial world.


Virtual Reality
is also use for training new skills and also can helps us enhance and plan for
operations. The good example for using virtual reality is Air Force training
for new pilots. It gives possibility to save money and is safer.



There is a lot of things which we
can do with Virtual Reality. In upcoming years, we can expect a significant
growth in the popularity of Virtual Reality, as well as the rapid development
of this technology. The prognoses says that Virtual Reality will bring up to
2.300 Million US Dollar with even the doubled sales in the years 2017 (“Virtual
Reality – Prognose zum Umsatz weltweit bis 2018 | Statistik,” n.d.). Oculus
Rift selled 60.000 DevKid1s (Vrland, n.d.) and 45.000 DevKids2 until July 1st
2014 (cybereality, 2014), which indicates that the market is growing and more people
are becoming interested in and aware of the technology.




History of VR


      Technology of Virtual Environment has its
origins in the 50’s. Military forces were the driving force for most of the high-tech
inventions. The need to exceed the opponent, especially during The Cold War,
produced many life changing ideas, including the Internet. Virtual reality was
also influenced by the military.


The great visionary who gave the world
interfaces developments we use nowadays was Douglas Engelbar. He gave up his
“steady job” in order to implement his new “guiding philosophy”. His goal was to
make the word better. He founded Augmentation Research Center, where he invented
NLS, or the “oN-Line System”. Hyperlinks, the mouse, screen windowing
and many others were used in practice for the first time in this system. It was
the beginning of the modern Virtual Reality (Pimentel).



Virtual Reality has a long history
of progression over the past 50 years. Listed below are the most important



The Ultimate
Display – early as it might seem, in 1965 Ivan Sutherland wrote his famous
paper “The Ultimate Display” predicting accurately the course of development of
Virtual Reality. He wrote about head-mounted displays and even “a chair
displayed (…)(that) would be good enough to sit in” in virtual room.



Sensorama – it
was the first approach in order to create a system of virtual reality. For two
years since 1960 Morton Heilig was working on creating a multi-sensory
stimulator. Color and stereo video was combined with scent, wind and



Reality (AR) – first introduced in the 90s, is focused on “presenting a virtual
world that enriches, rather than replaces the real world” (S. Bryson). The
technology has its origins in military – it was invented to provide pilots with
additional information during the fight. The digital picture is displayed on a
see-through HMD and adapts to real life objects.



UNC Walkthrough project – it was launched
at the University of North Carolina in the 80s. The main goal was to create an
architectural model that could be explored by user by stimulating a walk
through it. During the project, several VR devices were created.



Reality used in architecture


Virtual Reality is a big potential for architects and designers. VR can be
really great idea as a sell instrument better than any other opportunities to
show the projects.

As mentioned above, one of the first attempts to use VR tools in
architecture was UNC Walkthrough project. Since then, technology has developed
in an extraordinary way.


The finest example of achievements in this field is a VR NIE ROZUMIEM O CO CHODZI



reality nowadays


      Nowadays we can buy first
commercial version of Oculus Rift.

The sale launched in early 2016, on the beginning sold was from the Oculus
VR website and gradually made its way to shops around the world.


Also other companies have introduced equipment VR

Today we have to possibility to buy for example: Sony PlayStation VR, Samsung
Gear VR, HTC Vive and really cheap Google Cardboard and Daydream which is made
of actual cardboard



reality technology


      For architecture- designing, planning and modeling



      Virtual reality offers a lot of the
possibilities in modeling for example we can observe what the modeled object
will look like in reality. There are already several tools for interior
designers and architects who need to visualize their sketches. They can change
colors, textures and positions of objects and it gives us possibility to check
like whole project will look like.


Now the technology connected with VR is really common. Today we can find
a lot of well developed softwares for
creating 3D models and virtual environment. These programs are easy for use because they are both user-friendly and intuitive.


“The 3D model
linked to a data base concerning the lighting system management characterizes a
collaborative virtual environment. It means that it can be manipulated by
partners interested in creating, transforming and analyzing data in order to
obtain results and to make decisions. The process of developing the prototype
interface considers this proposes. Then, the model is easy to use and not
require sophisticated computer skills by users, as many are not computer
experts. The human perceptual and cognitive capabilities were taken into
account when designing this visualization tool. It uses an interactive 3D
visualization system based on the selection of element directly within the
virtual 3D world. Furthermore, associated with each component there are
integrated databases, allowing the consult of the require data in any point in
time.”  (A. Z. Sampaio)


The interactive
application allows the examination and visualization of the physical model for
each element modeled in 3D.

“In the area of
architecture, VR models are generally applied to the visualization of static
physical models in the definition of itineraries of walk-through, as a means of
transmitting the functional and geometric aspect of the building. This paper
contemplates incorporation of the 4th dimension, the time, into the
concept of visualization. The focus of the work is on traveling through time:
the ability to view a product or its components at different points in time
during their life. It is envisaged that the incorporation of the time dimension
into 3D visualization will enable the designer/user to make more objective
decisions about the choice of the constituent components of the building.” (A.
Z. Sampaio)



In the context of
architecture, VR can also be used to preserve historical buildings through virtual
physical renewal or renovation.

“In the context
of architecture, historical buildings can be preserved through physical
restoration or renovation; however, these procedures are costly and may not be
feasible due to deterioration of materials over time.” (A. Rafi)




      Education and training


We can consider
as the pioneers of the virtual reality the use of flight simulators. It has
long history and there was first reported in late 1950s and it were constantly
improved in many research institutes mainly for the military purposes.


Presently, a lot
of civil companies use VR as well, because it is offer lower operating costs
than the real aircraft flight training. Another benefit is that they are much
safer. They are also very helpful in situations where training is necessary.
Thus, they were prosperously applied for determining the efficiency of virtual
reality training of various groups. Some examples of this is how they were used
to test astronauts’ performance of hazardous tasks in space, as well as the
training of medicine students in performing endo-surgery.




Many people first associating Virtual Reality with games and the Oculus
Rift That has created much hype currently. There has been so much improvement
over the last few years That gamer will ever get excited when they think of the






For example, Sony
made an approach in this directory. The “Wearable HDTV, 2D/3D, Virtual 7.1
Surround Sound” head-mounted display like glasses are allowing the user to
watch a show in 3D or 2D with great sound anywhere the user wants. It is
connectable to many mobile devices and a PC. According to the homepage, one can
also use the glasses for gaming, similar to the Oculus Rift. The difference
here is that the Oculus Rift is still in developing while the Sony HMD can
already be bought for about $999.





Developments and Conclusions



      In conclusion, we have many things that
are changing right now or will most likely change in the future. The problems we
had before with size and prices are solving themselves; companies are investing
and people are experiencing the benefits of this.


Virtual reality
will become an essential tool for architects and every architect will soon
design using 3D goggles. Within a few years, virtual architecture can be as
convincing as the real thing.


“Virtual reality
technology has opened up possibilities of techniques and effective ways for
research, especially in the field of design, architecture, interpretation and
preservation of cultural and natural heritage (Ch’ng and Stone, 2006) and
education at least for the last 15 years. According to them, virtual heritage
(VH) sets out to designate the use of computer-based interactive technologies
to record, preserve, or recreate artifacts, sites and actors of historic,
artistic, religious and cultural significance and to deliver the results openly
to a global audience in such a way as to provide formative educational
experiences through electronic manipulations of time and space.” (A.Rafi)



As we can see in
the news, more and more companies are finding ways to use Virtual Reality to
their benefit.


With Facebook’s
Oculus Rift headset now available to pre-order, Sony’s PlayStation VR and HTC’s
Vive on their way, and millions of cheap Google Cardboard headsets out in the
wild already, this year will see an abundance of experimentation around VR.


Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg did not even spend $2billion buying Oculus
VR to release a functioning headset for high-end PC owners, even though that’s
pretty much what it is worth for its first commercial version, which retails for


“One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will
become a part of daily life for billions of people,” wrote Zuckerberg in March


It might be a
slow process, but Virtual Reality is winding its way into our lives and every
day we find new stories in the news where we use it now. As already said in the
introduction, the prognoses are there, the selling rates are going up and the technology
gets better every day. How long is needed is still impossible to say, but we
can already see the first impacts in our lives.