Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games) and education (e.g. medical or military training). Other distinct types of VR-style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality, sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that lets you experience a different place or situation. It immerses you in an experience by stimulating your senses—sight, hearing, touch, smell, and sometimes even taste. You feel like you’re in another place, which makes VR perfect for games, movies, and other forms of entertainment. But VR can also be used for other purposes, like education and training.

In VR, you wear a headset that covers your eyes and ears. The headset tracks your head movements and adjusts what you see in the virtual world accordingly. This gives you the sensation of being in that world. Most headsets also have built-in headphones, which provide sound from the virtual world or from the real world around you.

Some headsets use your smartphone as the display and processing power, while others have everything built into the headset. The more powerful ones use external sensors to track your movement in a larger area, so you can walk around and explore your virtual environment.

The first VR headsets were very bulky and expensive, but over time they’ve become smaller and more affordable. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR are some of the most popular headsets on the market. But there are also mobile VR headsets, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, that use your smartphone as the display and processing power. These are usually less expensive and more portable than the larger headsets.

Virtual reality is still in its early stages, but it has a lot of potential. For now, it’s mostly used for entertainment, but VR can also be used for training, education, and other purposes. In the future, we may see even more uses for VR technology.