A person using virtual reality equipment is able to "look around" the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items.

The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens.

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moving three dimensional images which may be in colour, with 100% peripheral vision, binaural sound, scents and air breezes".

Around the same time, Douglas Engelbart used computer screens both as input and output devices.

These components led to relative affordability for independent VR developers, and lead to the 2012 Oculus Rift kickstarter offering the first independently developed VR headset.

Independent production of VR images and video has increased by the development of omnidirectional cameras, also known as 360-degree cameras or VR cameras, that have the ability to record in all directions, although at low-resolutions or in highly compressed formats for online streaming of 360 video.

The consortium subsequently developed X3D from the VRML framework as an archival, open-source standard for web-based distribution of VR content.

All modern VR displays are based on technology developed for smartphones including: gyroscopes and motion sensors for tracking head, hand, and body positions; small HD screens for stereoscopic displays; and small, lightweight and fast processors.The patent application described the device as "a telescopic television apparatus for individual use...The spectator is given a complete sensation of reality, i.e.The Aspen Movie Map was created at the MIT in 1978.The program was a crude virtual simulation of Aspen, Colorado in which users could wander the streets in one of the three modes: summer, winter, and polygons.The first references to the more modern concept of virtual reality came from science fiction.