I picked up this book many years ago. I don’t really recall exactly where or when, but it was when I was teaching 3D animation at a local community college. It really was a great book with tons of DIY stuff, both hardware and software. I ended up recreating our server room using VRML, you could explore it and click on any server to be taken to that server’s status (I was also in the IT department).
The book is Garage Virtual Reality by Linda Jacobson. You can find it on Amazon if you want a copy, and I highly recommend it for an VR enthusast. Not only does it delve into the history of VR, it explains in detail the theory and advancements that have been made up to 1993.
Here is the table of contents to get you interested.
It also came with a disk full of software and demos!
The images in this book can be pretty enthralling. This isn’t all of them, but most.
One particular section is quite interesting to people right now. The HMD design that people were using in 1993 is virtually identical to the Oculus Rift. Palmer Luckey (founder of Oculus) noted that his designs weren’t particularly groundbreaking but rather technology was finally catching up to the design. You’ll note the design below is almost identical to the rift, however the accompanying electronics are very bulky. Performance would have been miserable in comparison as well.
I attribute much Palmer’s success to his passion and energy in promoting the conceptl. Anybody could have built basically the identical design, actually many did long before him, but not everyone had the ability to build the excitement around it. Sometimes it takes not only the right technology, but also the right people.