DisneyQuest Dazzles the Senses with Virtual Reality

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You wanted to know

April Giles, 10, of Wauconda wanted to know:

How do they make virtual reality?

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For further information

To learn more about virtual reality, Wauconda Area Public Library suggests:

- "A Door To Cyberspace" by Ann E. Weiss

- "Virtual Reality And The World Wide Web" by David Jefferis

- "Virtual Reality" by H.P. Newquist

Contact DisneyQuest on the Web at www.disneyquest.com

"How do they make virtual reality?," asks April Giles, 10, a fifth-grader at St. Mary School in Mundelein.

At DisneyQuest, which has a five-story indoor interactive theme park in Chicago and a second facility in Orlando, Fla., many of the attractions use virtual reality computer technology.

"Virtual reality makes people believe they are someplace other than where they really are," said Joe Garlington, executive director for interactive development at Disney Regional Entertainment in Glendale, Calif. "To do this, virtual reality requires two things."

"First, you must block your normal sights and sounds (and sometimes other senses) that tell you where you really are," Garlington said. "Second, you replace these with new sights and sounds created with the help from a computer."

Garlington said virtual reality has been around since the 1960s. A professor at the University of Utah, Salt Lake, developed a head set that enabled the participant to see his or her surroundings as black-and-white wire frame imagery. A wand was provided so the participant could touch the edge of the cubes - in reality, desks and chairs - seen through the headset.

Prior to that, experts in technology collaborated on scientific research that originally was intended for defense work. From that research, a form of virtual reality was developed.

"The term is used broadly," Garlington said. "True virtual reality is defined by inventors as 'stereoptic' 3-D, in which the right eye gets a different view than the left eye."

Garlington said there are two ways to experience virtual reality, one with a head set and one using giant screens, 8-foot by 6-foot, that surround the participant with the 3-D imagery. …