A fully immersive, perceptually-real environment will consist of multiple components.
The following hardware technologies are developed to stimulate one or more of the five senses to create perceptually-real sensations.
These technologies provide the ability to interact and communicate with the virtual environment.
Software interacts with the hardware technology to render the virtual environment and process the user input to provide dynamic, real-time response. To achieve this, software often integrates components of artificial intelligence and virtual worlds.
Research and development
Many universities have programs that research and develop immersive technology. Examples are Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, USC's Computer Graphics and Immersive Technologies Lab, Iowa State Virtual Reality Applications Center, University of Buffalo's VR Lab, and Teesside University's Intelligent Virtual Environments Lab.
Immersive technology is applied in several areas, including the adult industry, art, entertainment and video games and interactive storytelling, military, education, and medicine. As immersive technology becomes more mainstream, it will likely pervade many other industries.
Concerns and ethics
The potential perils of immersive technology have often been portrayed in science fiction and entertainment. Movies such as eXistenZ, The Matrix, and the short film 'Play' by David Kaplan and Eric Zimmerman raise questions about what may happen if we are unable to distinguish the physical world from the digital world.
- "Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) RFI.". 2010-03-12.
- "Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center funds virtual world for amputees".
- "Porn Industry Embraces Immersive 3D technology".
- Immersive Education Initiative
- "Doctors test new gestural interface during brain surgery".
- "Virtual Rape Is Traumatic, but Is It a Crime?". Wired. 4 May 2007.