Many will put the birth of virtual reality a few years ago in 2011 when Palmer Luckey built the first Oculus prototype in his parent’s garage.
But I think it started one-hundred plus years earlier, in 1895 when the first people viewed The Lumière Brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat or when they saw Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery in 1903.
Both of these films reportedly caused great panic in the audience. The train arriving at La Ciotat station was so life-like the audience ran from the theater, fearing they would be run over by the train! Then, only a few years later, when Justus T. Barnes shoots his pistol point-blank at the audience, people fainted – believing they had actually been hit by his “virtual” bullets.
It seems silly to us today, looking at the black and white flickery imagery of one hundred years ago, to imagine that those experiences would have seemed so real to those viewers to create such panic. But they did. And, this was the start of virtual reality.
Today, we are again at that same point when Edison, Porter and the Lumière Brother’s were making their films, and it is a very exciting time.
When do you think the birth of virtual reality happened?