Possible Worlds: The Social Dynamic of Virtual Reality Technology

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Westview Press, 1996 - Computers - 203 pages
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Once a tool of the 1960s military through which virtual wars were staged and studied so that actual wars could be perfected, in the 1990s virtual reality (VR) has become a revolutionary technology allowing users to experience nearly unlimited computer-generated realities--exercising a strong hold on the popular imagination, attracting hundreds of researchers, and spawning a booming industry. This book explores the complex significance of this technology to popular culture. It provides a sociological and historical account of the genesis of VR and how VR has shaped social life, and then relates VR to more general issues in the study and effects of the new communications media. Explained is VR's relationship to advanced research and development, to the education and entertainment industries, and finally to the culture of cyberpunk, youth culture, and cultural expression. Taken as a whole, Possible Worlds provides a complete understanding of this complex and exciting technology.

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From the Ultimate Display to Reality Built
From the Laboratory to Consumer Electronics

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About the author (1996)

Ralph Schroeder is lecturer in sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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