Virtual reality was originally used to describe a specific technology, comprising of a pair of goggles, with TV screens for eyepieces and a sensor for monitoring orientation and position. With the goggles on, the wearer sees a computer-generated ...
image on the screens. When the head moves, the image on the screen moves correspondingly, thus giving the sense of being in a "real" space. From a refinement of arcade game and flight simulator technology, virtual reality is travelling towards complete immersion in "artificial" space, to the point where the subject is not just sensing an artificial world but is part of it. In "Virtual Worlds", Benjamin Woolley examines the reality of virtual reality. He looks at the dramatic intellectual and cultural upheavals that gave birth to it, at the hype that surrounds it, at the people who have promoted it, and at the dramatic implications of its development. Vitural reality is not simply a technology, it is a way of thinking created and promoted by a group of technologists and thinkers that sees itself as creating our future. "Virtual Worlds" reveals the politics and culture of these virtual realists, and examines whether they are creating reality, or losing their grasp of it.