Skip to main content

Virtual and Augmented Reality

  • Reference work entry
Encyclopedia of Multimedia


Virtual Reality is the technology that provides almost real and/or believable experiences in a synthetic or virtual way, while Augmented Reality enhances the real world by superimposing computer-generated information on top of it.


The term Virtual Reality (VR) was initially introduced by Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research in 1989. This term is a contradiction in its self, for nothing can be both real and virtual at the same time. Perhaps Real Virtuality would be a better term, because this is what new technologies have been giving. Other related terms include Artificial Reality (Myron Krueger, 1970s), Cyberspace (William Gibson, 1984), and, more recently, Virtual Worlds and Virtual Environments (1990s). Virtual Reality may be considered to have been born in the mid-1960s, based on the work of Van Sutherland from the University of Utah [1]. A paper, published in 1972 by D. L Vickers, one of Sutherland’s colleagues, describes an interactive computer graphics...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 449.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 329.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions


  1. I.E. Sutherland, “The Ultimate Display,” Proceedings of the 1965 IFIP Congress, Vol. 2, 1965, pp. 506.–508

    Google Scholar 

  2. M. Heim, “Virtual Reality,” Oxford University Press, New York, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  3. J.C. Oliveira, S. Shirmohammadi, M. Cordea, E. Petriu, D. Petriu, and N.D. Georganas, “Virtual Theater for Industrial Training: A Collaborative Virtual Environment,” Proceedings of the Fourth World Multiconference on Circuits, Systems, Communications and Computers (CSCC 2000), Athens, Greece, Vol. IV, July 2000, pp. 294–299.

    Google Scholar 

  4. P. Wellner, W. Mackay, and R. Gold (Eds.), “Special Issue on Computer Augmented Environments: Back to the Real World,” Communications of the ACM, Vol. 36, No. 7, July 1993.

    Google Scholar 

  5. DISCOVER Lab,

  6. Scalable Vector Graphics Specification,

  7. S. Shirmohammadi and N.D. Georganas, “An End-to-End Communication Architecture for Collaborative Virtual Environments,” Computer Networks Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2–3, February 2001, pp. 351–367.

    Google Scholar 

  8. L. John et al. “Integrating SIMNET with NPSNET Using a Mix of Silicon Graphics and Sun Workstations,” Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, March 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  9. A. Pope, BBN Report No. 7102, “The SIMNET Network and Protocols,” BBN Systems and Technologies, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July, 1989.

    Google Scholar 

  10. High Level Architecture (HLA),

  11. W.R. Sherman and A.B. Craig, 2002, “Understanding Virtual Reality,” Morgan Kaufmann, Los Altos, CA, ISBN 1558603530.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2008 Springer-Verlag

About this entry

Cite this entry

Shen, X., Shirmohammadi, S. (2008). Virtual and Augmented Reality. In: Furht, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Multimedia. Springer, Boston, MA.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics