The term “virtual reality” (VR) was reputedly first coined by Jaron Lanier, head of Virtual Programming Language, Inc. It is usually taken to refer to a computer-mediated simulation that is three-dimensional, multisensory, and interactive, so that the user’s experience is “as if ” inhabiting and acting within an external environment. A few typical definitions emphasize these main elements:
  • The illusion of participation in a synthetic environment… VR relies on three-dimensional, stereoscopic, head-tracked display, hand-body tracking, and binaural sound.

  • A combination of computer and interface devices (goggles, gloves, etc.) that present a user with the illusion of being in a three-dimensionalworld of computer-generated objects.

  • VR is minimally defined as a computer-generated experience consisting of stereoscopic, real-time, viewer-centered computer graphics. A VR experience may be further and significantly enriched by the inclusion of spatially located sound, haptics, and smell.

  • A computer system used to create an artificial world in which the user has the impression of being in that world and with the ability to navigate through the world and manipulate objects in the world.

  • A VR is a computer world that tricks the senses or mind.


Virtual Reality Virtual World Virtual Space Online Environment Virtual Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas C. Burbules
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Education Policy StudiesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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