The idea of Virtual Reality began well before the advent of the computer, but in dealing only with the VR in the sense in which we know it, all its history has occurred over the past 40 years.

Virtual Reality pioneers such as Ivan Sutherland, Michael Noll, and Myron Krueger all had their parts to play in the creation of 'modern-day' VR.

Popular culture and the science fiction genre both have also had profound effects on research as to the social implications of VR.

Below is a list of key dates and people who have made their mark on the virtual reality historical timeline. Text that links from names link to that person's email address. Links from movies link to that movie's website.

Person(s) Responsible
Why it was important
1965 Ivan Sutherland Ultimate Display The beginnings of VR
1977 Dan Sandin, Richard Sayre and Thomas Defanti The first dataglove Interaction through body movement
1982 Bonnie MacBird (Writer) Tron The first computer- generated movie
1983 Myron Krueger Videospace First virtual environment
1984 William Gibson (His assistant) Neuromancer The term 'Cyberspace'
1987 Michael Piller (Writer) Star Trek - The Next Generation The Holodeck, idea of immersive VR
1992 Stephen King (Official Website) Lawnmower Man A look at the possible negative side of VR
1995 Silicon Graphics VRML 1.0 Virtual Reality Modeling Language
1999 Larry and Andy Wachowski The Matrix Virtual Reality movie grosses $750M worldwide

This site was published for Communication Studies 380 at the University of Calgary, March 26, 2004