To be able to explain an immersive environment it is necessary to understand the word ‘immersive’ which is the idea to plunge into something or to be surrounded by it. An environment described as such can be compared to a virtual reality as many of the previous posts have mentioned. Technology and immersive environments go hand in hand; it’s thanks to new media that these virtual experiences can be created. A crucial point to the immersive environment is interaction; technology still requires a user and physical input and output of information to create a virtual reality. Expert Victor Lombardi depicts a virtual reality as “the ultimate interface between human and computer.” The goal of a virtual reality is to provide enough information for the user to perceive a new set of surroundings, to be immersed in an alternate environment. I would not however go as far as to say they are the same thing, so how do they differ? A virtual reality system would generally consist of multiple devices worn on the body such as goggles or earphones to provide audio and visual experience to the building of the virtual world.
The idea of the immersive environment is basically to ultimate interaction, or new media experience. They still utilize computer generated interfaces but the idea is to surround the user naturally. Lombardi calls this “information hiding” where the computing happens behind the scenes, so the user is insulated from the computing equipment, this removes the idea from the user that he or she is interacting with a computer, bringing the level of interactivity to an all new level.
LOMBARDI, Victor, Evolution of Technology