The term ‘virtual reality’ was coined by Jaron Lanier in 1987 during a period of intense research activity into this form of technology. But before then, he had set up VPL Research – a company which pioneered research into virtual reality and 3D graphics which also sold the first virtual reality gear such as virtual reality glasses, data gloves and later, the full data suit.
VPL Research patents were later acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999.
Lanier partnered up with Tom Zimmerman – the inventor of the first data glove and together they produced a range of virtual reality products such as glasses, gloves and a relatively inexpensive head mounted display (HMD).
Virtual reality became very popular around this time – especially in the 1990’s, but this soon dropped off due to a yawning gap between public expectations and technological limitations.