When Did Virtual Reality Get Invented? A Look at Its History and Evolution

Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way since its inception. The technology has been evolving rapidly, and it’s hard to believe that VR was only invented just over 50 years ago. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of virtual reality and explore how it has evolved over the years.

The idea of creating an immersive simulation can be traced back to ancient times. For example, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote about the concept of "allegory," which was a technique used to teach moral lessons through storytelling. This technique involved creating a fictional world that mirrored reality and using it as a metaphor for real-life situations.

In the 19th century, scientists began experimenting with different technologies that could create realistic simulations. One of the most famous examples is the Thaumatrope, which was invented by German physicist Ernst Mach in 1861. The Thaumatrope used a rotating disk and two mirrors to create an illusion of depth.

However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that virtual reality as we know it today began to take shape. In 1935, Hungarian inventor Ivan Sutherland created Sketchpad, which was one of the first computer graphics programs. Sketchpad allowed users to create and manipulate 3D objects, paving the way for modern VR systems.

In the 1960s, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) developed a head-mounted display that could track the user’s head movement and adjust the image accordingly. This technology laid the foundation for modern VR systems.

However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that virtual reality really took off. In 1982, computer scientist Jaron Lanier coined the term "virtual reality" in his book "Virtual Reality: A Philosophical Inquiry." This book helped to popularize the concept of VR and sparked interest in the technology.

In the following years, several companies developed VR systems, including the Oculus Rift, which was launched in 2012. These systems allowed users to fully immerse themselves in a virtual world and experience it as if they were really there.

Today, virtual reality continues to evolve, with new technologies being developed all the time. The use of VR in gaming has become increasingly popular, but it’s also being used for other applications such as training simulations, therapy, and education.

In conclusion, virtual reality has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s. From its humble beginnings with simple computer graphics programs to today’s sophisticated VR systems, virtual reality has transformed the way we interact with technology. With continued innovation and development, it’s exciting to see what the future of VR will bring.


  1. When was virtual reality invented?
    Virtual reality was invented in the 1960s by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
  2. Who invented the first virtual reality system?
    The first virtual reality system, known as the Sword of Damocles, was developed in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland.

    3. What is the Oculus Rift?

    The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows users to fully immerse themselves in a virtual world. It was launched in 2012 and has become increasingly popular for gaming and other applications.