Immersive technology refers to technology that attempts to emulate a physical world through the means of a digital or simulated world, thereby creating a sense of immersion. Immersive technology enables mixed reality; in some uses, the term "immersive computing" is effectively synonymous with mixed reality as a user interface.
A fully immersive, perceptually-real environment will consist of multiple components.
The following hardware technologies are developed to stimulate one or more of the five senses to create perceptually-real sensations.
These technologies provide the ability to interact and communicate with the virtual environment.
Software interacts with the hardware technology to render the virtual environment and process the user input to provide dynamic, real-time response. To achieve this, software often integrates components of artificial intelligence and virtual worlds.
Many universities have programs that research and develop immersive technology. Examples are Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, USC's Computer Graphics and Immersive Technologies Lab, Iowa State Virtual Reality Applications Center, University of Buffalo's VR Lab, Teesside University's Intelligent Virtual Environments Lab and Liverpool John Moores University's Immersive Storylab.
Immersive technology is applied in several areas, including the adult industry,art,entertainment and video games and interactive storytelling, military, education, and medicine. As immersive technology becomes more mainstream, it will likely pervade many other industries.
The potential perils of immersive technology have often been portrayed in science fiction and entertainment. Movies such as eXistenZ, The Matrix, and the short film 'Play' by David Kaplan and Eric Zimmerman raise questions about what may happen if we are unable to distinguish the physical world from the digital world.