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Virtual Reality

             Virtual reality is the computer generated simulation of a real or imagined environment or world that is graphics based or text based. As a general rule, people are better at learning procedures through visual and "hands on" experiments rather than from a list of instructions on how to perform a procedure. This is probably why graphics based simulations account for the vast majority of simulations. By using virtual reality (VR), one can see any imaginable situation from the very dynamics of molecules and their interactions to the operation of extremely large machinery. .
             When was it developed? .
             Virtual Reality existed long before it was classified as "virtual reality" in the way that the public now perceives it. Many simulation programs used the basic ideas of a theoretical environment and its resulting behaviors to stimuli. Like many areas of current technology, VR has strong roots in the military. It was and still is used for education and training for military situations, much like the medical industry uses virtual reality now. The virtual reality that generally comes to mind is the 3-D imaging one runs into in a flight simulator or walking inside a virtual house. Only in the last few years has computer software been developed that can handle such immense 3-D graphics (Psotka, 1995). .
             How did it change from entertainment to medical applications? .
             For the first few years of its development, virtual reality was used to help with hypothetical situations involving spatial relations and flight simulators. It allowed virtual tours of buildings and environments. The push for medical applications arose from the huge advantage that a surgeon or doctor has if he or she has already "seen" the situation. It eliminated many cases of exploratory surgery in which the doctor had to actually open up the person to see what was wrong. After many successes, the field of medical virtual reality grew and grew.

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