1970s – military development and continued experimentation
So, perhaps the first notable development of the 70s was a flight simulator for military aviation pilots with a full-fledged flight simulation from General Electric. Development began in the early 60s, but with the improvement in the quality of transistors, as well as with the development of transistor circuitry and computer science, it was possible to create a full-fledged computer flight simulation. A characteristic feature was a 180-degree view, due to the use of 3 screens that surrounded the cockpit. Flight simulators using this principle are still in use today.
The next step in the development of virtual reality technologies is Kruger’s VIDEOPLACE. The complex is the first interactive VR platform. The system was first shown at the Milwaukee Arts Center in 1975. VIDEOPLACE used computer graphics, projectors, video cameras from one of the earliest tracking systems for object location. The system, like the military simulators of the time, did not use glasses or gloves.
The platform was based on a dark room with large screens that surrounded the user. Like modern kinect systems, the user’s movements were transmitted to computer models. Also, the models of users in different rooms could interact with each other in the virtual space, which was a fundamentally new function for systems of this kind.
Another, ideological and conceptual rather than technological breakthrough was the film map of Aspen, Colorado, created by a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The system, introduced in 1977, allowed for a virtual tour of the city, much like Google Street View does.