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The illusions in Virtual Reality

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Virtual Reality (VR) has grown very popular over the past decade. It has, in a way, revolutionized the gaming industry. However, it is being used in several other industries as well. Virtual Reality is being used to train certain employees in particular jobs. It is also being used for several therapeutic functions. This is because it is effective in showing something we want right before our eyes, without any hassle or extreme expenditure. It provides an illusion that is good enough to deceive most of us. 
There are different types of illusions that produce different effects, hence changing the way VR’s illusion affects us. They are called: 

  1. Place Illusion.
  2. Plausibility Illusion.
  3. Embodiment Illusion.

Place Illusion

Place illusion works on producing an effect or a feeling that the person has actually been transported somewhere else. This is achieved by taking various factors into consideration such as: 

  1. The Quality of the display: The quality of the display plays an important role in making the illusion seem realistic. This is because in case we have a lower quality display, the illusion looks less real due to possibly a more pixelated look, which isn’t desirable.
  2. Position and rotation tracking (6 degrees of freedom for maximum immersion): More degrees of freedom, the better. It makes the user feel like they are in the virtual world as it tracks the head movement in real-time. If it isn’t supported by a good tracking mechanism, it will constantly remind the user that what they are viewing isn’t really as it doesn’t move along with you.
  3. Use of external hardware to stimulate other senses such as sound and touch: By including hardware that includes our various senses, the immersion, and authenticity of the illusion feel far more real compared to those that cater to less number of senses.

Plausibility Illusion

Plausibility illusion works on the principle of creating a plausible environment that we can believe to be real. The above factors can be taken into consideration for plausibility illusion as well. However, the illusion can easily be broken if: 

  1. The environment doesn’t respond in a realistic way: If you end up running into another person, and they pass through you or don’t react, you will immediately realize that it is an illusion, hence breaking the effect.
  2. Objects go through repetitive motions to a point that it becomes very noticeable: If you see the same bird hopping around a puddle and flying away and returning for a few minutes, it will look unrealistic because not every bird will do the hop in the same manner.

Embodiment Illusion

Embodiment illusion works on making the user believe that the body they have in the virtual world belongs to them, unlike the other two illusions where they focus more on making the environment more realistic. Position and rotation tracking is extremely important for this type of illusion because the body in the virtual world needs to be able to imitate your movements in the real world to make it seem realistic in the virtual one. 

Difference Between Place Illusion and Plausibility Illusion


Place Illusion

Plausibility Illusion

Definition of the termDepends on the person believing that they have been transported.Depends on the person believing that the illusion is plausible.
RecoveryIf Place illusion breaks, it can still recover the illusion created in the user’s mind.If Plausibility illusion breaks, it cannot be recovered because it works on the sole principle of being plausible enough to believe.
Last Updated : 09 Jul, 2020
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