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Unsurprisingly, the video games industry is one of the largest proponents of Virtual Reality. Support for the Oculus Rift headsets has already been jerry-rigged into games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto, but newer games like Elite: Dangerous come with headset support built right in. Many tried-and-true user interface metaphors in gaming have to be adjusted for VR (after all, who wants to have to pick items out of a menu that takes up your entire field of vision?), but the industry has been quick to adapt as the hardware for true Virtual Reality gaming has become more widely available.


At some point the 2.0 Lighthouse sensors will arrive with a new curved design and support to add up to four at once (right now it's just two). Meanwhile, the Vive's Trackers enable you to bring any object into VR, and some developers have already found some creative uses for them. These, combined with the TPCast's wireless adapter, gives the Vive the advantage in the tech battle. However, if you wait a little while you can get your hands on the new Vive Pro Eye, which adds new eye-tracking technology (more on that further below).
In medicine, simulated VR surgical environments under the supervision of experts can provide effective and repeatable training at a low cost, allowing trainees to recognize and amend errors as they occur.[53] Virtual reality has been used in physical rehabilitation since the 2000s. Despite numerous studies conducted, good quality evidence of its efficacy compared to other rehabilitation methods without sophisticated and expensive equipment is lacking for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.[54] A 2018 review on the effectiveness of mirror therapy by virtual reality and robotics for any type of pathology concluded in a similar way.[55] Another study was conducted that showed the potential for VR to promote mimicry and revealed the difference between neurotypical and autism spectrum disorder individuals in their response to a two-dimensional avatar.[56] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degree-Rotating-Tie-Rack-Belt-Hangers-Scarf-Holder-Hook-for-Closet-Organizers-Home-Hanging-Necktie/32962345186.html
Despite being one of the big three in high-end VR, the PS VR is a noticeable step down from the Rift and Vive. It's got a 120Hz refresh rate, which is higher than the others, but it's not as crisp with its 1920 x 1080 resolution, which means things are a little more blurry. Plus, its PS Move controllers feel very long in the tooth; they're repurposed motion controllers from the days when the Nintendo Wii was popular, and feel very outdated when compared to the Rift's Touch controllers. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/NEW-Amkov-VR-360-Handheld-4K-WiFi-360-Degrees-Panoramic-Camera-Dual-HD-Wide-Angle-Fisheye/32960301048.html
Although we talk about a few historical early forms of virtual reality elsewhere on the site, today virtual reality is usually implemented using computer technology. There are a range of systems that are used for this purpose, such as headsets, omni-directional treadmills and special gloves. These are used to actually stimulate our senses together in order to create the illusion of reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnbS8L2m49g&t=1s
There are few worse feelings than putting on a VR headset and having someone else's sweat drip down your face. That's why, if you're likely to be sharing your headset with others, we'd recommend some sort of cover. The company VR Cover does exactly what it suggests, selling covers for the Rift, Vive, Gear VR and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. You can get a couple of machine-washable covers or, if you prefer, some cheaper disposable ones. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/kebidu-For-PS3-PS4-Xbox-One-Xbox-360-USB-Controller-Converter-Adapter-For-Nintendo-Switch-NS/32863100869.html
The Lenovo Mirage Solo is the Google Daydream version of the Oculus Quest, but it doesn't quite hit the mark. It has the same Snapdragon 835 processor and outward-facing cameras for 6DOF position tracking for the headset itself, but it includes only a single 3DOF motion controller, which severely limits its capabilities. It feels like a half-step between the Go and the Quest, using Google's Daydream platform instead of Oculus, and simply isn't as compelling as the other standalone headsets because of it.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDkC1eebWbU&t=1s

Everything that we know about our reality comes by way of our senses. In other words, our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it. You would be presented with a version of reality that isn’t really there, but from your perspective it would be perceived as real. Something we would refer to as a virtual reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67oqXQP54GI&t=1s
Currently standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LED-Display-Smart-Home-Water-Shower-Thermometer-Flow-Self-Generating-Electricity-Water-Temperture-Meter-Monitor-for/32854362335.html
In 1999, entrepreneur Philip Rosedale formed Linden Lab with an initial focus on the development of VR hardware. In its earliest form, the company struggled to produce a commercial version of "The Rig", which was realized in prototype form as a clunky steel contraption with several computer monitors that users could wear on their shoulders. The concept was later adapted into the personal computer-based, 3D virtual world program Second Life.[23] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Style-Camera-360-4k-360-degree-Panoramic-VR-Camera-Build-in-WiFi-Mini-Sports-Action/32702459981.html
Nintendo's Labo series of games/arts-and-crafts sets for the Nintendo Switch have interested us since the first Labo Variety Kit came out. You build your own controllers with cardboard and play games using the Switch and motion-sensing Joy-Con controllers. Now Nintendo has returned to VR (a field it hasn't set foot in since the ill-fated Virtual Boy) with its fourth Labo package, the Labo VR Kit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3UGqoGlmIs&t=1s
The Oculus Touch controllers have made a world of difference since their arrival. Compared to the other headsets' controllers, they're our favourite – they conform to your hand and allow for some finger recognition, like a thumbs-up. Not just that, but when it comes to games Oculus has come on leaps and bounds. That's been largely helped by some developer cash injections from Facebook, giving us quality, polished titles like Lone Echo and Robo Recall. Room-scale support has been added too, though you'll need to purchase at least one additional sensor to get it to Vive-level tracking, and even then the Vive tracking experience is a little better in our experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIxQXGTl_mo&t=1s
Despite being one of the big three in high-end VR, the PS VR is a noticeable step down from the Rift and Vive. It's got a 120Hz refresh rate, which is higher than the others, but it's not as crisp with its 1920 x 1080 resolution, which means things are a little more blurry. Plus, its PS Move controllers feel very long in the tooth; they're repurposed motion controllers from the days when the Nintendo Wii was popular, and feel very outdated when compared to the Rift's Touch controllers. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32827172654.html
Currently standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-Nano-4K-20MP-360-VR-Video-Camera-Panoramic-Livestream-Video-Chat-MultiView-Video-Camera-for/32848001272.html

This may seems like a lot of effort, and it is! What makes the development of virtual reality worthwhile? The potential entertainment value is clear. Immersive films and video games are good examples. The entertainment industry is after all a multi-billion dollar one and consumers are always keen on novelty. Virtual reality has many other, more serious, applications as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coKs3KnIcao&t=1s
Sony’s entry into the market is the lowest powered of the three best-selling VR HMDs, but the PSVR has a big advantage over the Rift and Vive. Because it’s tethered to the Playstation 4 gaming system, there was an enormous, pre-existing user base of 10s of millions of gamers, many of whom were eager to try their hand at VR. Because that user base already had a PS4, Sony’s customers didn’t have to purchase/upgrade their computer hardware, making the PSVR the most “affordable” of the high-end HMDs. As such, the PSVR is the best-selling Virtual Reality HMD on the market, moving over 4 million units since its initial release, and showing that, if nothing else, VR gaming is here to stay. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-Nano-S-4K-360-VR-Video-Panoramic-Camera-20MP-photos-for-iphone-X-iPhone-8/32888150076.html
Although we talk about a few historical early forms of virtual reality elsewhere on the site, today virtual reality is usually implemented using computer technology. There are a range of systems that are used for this purpose, such as headsets, omni-directional treadmills and special gloves. These are used to actually stimulate our senses together in order to create the illusion of reality. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degree-Car-DVR-with-4-cameras-recording-and-Bird-Eye-View-Monitoring-Parking-Assist-System/1229624650.html
Windows Mixed Reality is aimed at creating a more affordable version of high-end VR, and many of the headsets are built to run in two modes: one for PCs with dedicated graphics cards and one for PCs with integrated graphics. Many of these headsets start around $300, but at the top of the pile is the Samsung Odyssey. It has built-in spatial headphones from AKG, two 1400 X 1600 AMOLED displays, and a 110-degree field of view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nORNftIHSAo&t=1s
Microsoft HoloLens is shaping up to be another formidable competitor in the HMD market. Unlike VR tech, Microsoft based their display on holographic technology. The original Hololens was more proof of concept than consumer device, and the recently announced Hololens 2 is again eschewing the public in favor of enterprise/government uses. The Hololens 2 will feature upgraded visuals, including a much-expanded field of view — music to fans of the original device, who settled on the limited FOV as the main drawback of the device. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNq-8bWfAwQ&t=1s
It's not without issues though. We've already discussed VR exercise equipment as a promising concept let down by being such an expensive, bulky and sweaty process. But if you really want to "get in" the game, and you have space, hopping into an Omni could be pretty neat. We've tried it since its early days at CES and it's been able to stick it out through the years, improving the base, harness and shoes to ensure the best possible experience. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Wonder-girl-250-Density-Remy-360-Lace-Frontal-Wig-With-Baby-Hair-Peruvian-Straight-Lace-Front/32850163634.html

All this sounds fantastic and amazing, which it is, but it comes with its fair share of challenges when creating this content. Before I jump into those, take a look at the final product I created for the client, so you have a better understanding of what I’m talking about as I go (Note: For best experience, view on phone or tablet. If you’re on a computer, you can still view it just fine, just click and drag around the screen to change your view):
There are few worse feelings than putting on a VR headset and having someone else's sweat drip down your face. That's why, if you're likely to be sharing your headset with others, we'd recommend some sort of cover. The company VR Cover does exactly what it suggests, selling covers for the Rift, Vive, Gear VR and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. You can get a couple of machine-washable covers or, if you prefer, some cheaper disposable ones. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/kebidu-For-PS3-PS4-Xbox-One-Xbox-360-USB-Controller-Converter-Adapter-For-Nintendo-Switch-NS/32863100869.html
Windows Mixed Reality is aimed at creating a more affordable version of high-end VR, and many of the headsets are built to run in two modes: one for PCs with dedicated graphics cards and one for PCs with integrated graphics. Many of these headsets start around $300, but at the top of the pile is the Samsung Odyssey. It has built-in spatial headphones from AKG, two 1400 X 1600 AMOLED displays, and a 110-degree field of view. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degree-Universal-Car-Phone-Holder-Magnetic-Air-Vent-Mount-Cell-Phone-Car-Mobile-Phone-Holder/32689033913.html
Morton Heilig wrote in the 1950s of an "Experience Theatre" that could encompass all the senses in an effective manner, thus drawing the viewer into the onscreen activity. He built a prototype of his vision dubbed the Sensorama in 1962, along with five short films to be displayed in it while engaging multiple senses (sight, sound, smell, and touch). Predating digital computing, the Sensorama was a mechanical device. Heilig also developed what he referred to as the "Telesphere Mask" (patented in 1960). The patent application described the device as "a telescopic television apparatus for individual use...The spectator is given a complete sensation of reality, i.e. moving three dimensional images which may be in colour, with 100% peripheral vision, binaural sound, scents and air breezes."[6] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Global-PROTRULY-V10S-Smartphone-360-Degree-26MP-3D-VR-Full-View-Android-7-1-Snapdrago

In projector-based virtual reality, modeling of the real environment plays a vital role in various virtual reality applications, such as robot navigation, construction modeling, and airplane simulation. Image-based virtual reality system has been gaining popularity in computer graphics and computer vision communities. In generating realistic models, it is essential to accurately register acquired 3D data; usually, camera is used for modeling small objects at a short distance.
In our hands-on time with the Odyssey, we felt it was the one Mixed Reality headset that's on the same level as Oculus Rift. It has a premium, comfortable feel that the other headsets, from the likes of Lenovo, Acer and HP don't have. For Windows Mixed Reality right now, Samsung holds the bar. With the arrival of the Odyssey+, Samsung has improved things further with double the pixel count than the first Odyssey and an Anti-SDE (Screen-Door Effect) Display, aimed at mitigating a condition that can lead to mild dizziness and nausea. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Rotating-Universal-PU-Leather-Stand-Cover-For-10-inch-Android-Tablet-Universal-9-7-10/32807240613.html
After doing this over and over, revision after revision, eventually I have a final draft to export. In the export window, it is important that I ensure the “VR” is still enabled. What this does is put that specification in the metadata file so that sites like YouTube and Vimeo know to play it as 360° VR footage. Then I can upload it and ensure the playback is the way I want it. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Panoramic-360-VR-1080P-HD-IP-Mini-Human-Body-Camera-Smart-LED-Lights-Cam-Starlight-IR/32958531508.html
By 1994, Sega released the Sega VR-1 motion simulator arcade attraction,[18][19] in SegaWorld amusement arcades. It was able to track head movement and featured 3D polygon graphics in stereoscopic 3D, powered by the Sega Model 1 arcade system board.[20] Apple released QuickTime VR, which, despite using the term "VR", was unable to represent virtual reality, and instead displayed 360 photographic panoramas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30l5LO7gC6A&t=1s
To a degree, I’ve made it sound harder than it actually is since software has compensated for much of this, but these were some of the questions I was asking when I was first learning. I then started learning that some standard editing procedures could still be done. For example, I can still create image masks in 360°. So in truth, I still stood behind the camera the whole time along with others and gear and then masked myself out with a separate cut of footage showing the empty room. And for the motion graphics, (I use Adobe software) the software has built-in accommodations for editing and viewing in the 3D space so as to create accurate graphics. So in truth, once I learned, it wasn’t that hard, but boy is it time-consuming. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Professional-2-0-LCD-Display-4K-WiFi-360-Camera-360-Degree-Ultra-HD-VR-Camera-Handheld/32891141149.html
In 1999, entrepreneur Philip Rosedale formed Linden Lab with an initial focus on the development of VR hardware. In its earliest form, the company struggled to produce a commercial version of "The Rig", which was realized in prototype form as a clunky steel contraption with several computer monitors that users could wear on their shoulders. The concept was later adapted into the personal computer-based, 3D virtual world program Second Life.[23] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-keAwnqwRQ&t=1s
Many PlayStation VR games work with the DualShock 4, so you don't even need motion controls. However, those motion controls are where the PlayStation VR lags behind; the headset still uses the PlayStation Move wands from the PlayStation 3 era, and they aren't nearly as capable or comfortable as the Oculus Touch controllers. They're also expensive, and not always included in PlayStation VR bundles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwQPJmg-Kg&t=1s
At some point the 2.0 Lighthouse sensors will arrive with a new curved design and support to add up to four at once (right now it's just two). Meanwhile, the Vive's Trackers enable you to bring any object into VR, and some developers have already found some creative uses for them. These, combined with the TPCast's wireless adapter, gives the Vive the advantage in the tech battle. However, if you wait a little while you can get your hands on the new Vive Pro Eye, which adds new eye-tracking technology (more on that further below).
With a multiplicity of emerging hardware and software options, the future of wearables is unfolding but yet unknown. Concepts such as the HTC Vive Pro Eye, Oculus Quest and Playstation VR are leading the way, but there are also players like Google, Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and others who may surprise the industry with new levels of immersion and usability. Whomever comes out ahead, the simplicity of buying a helmet-sized device that can work in a living-room, office, or factory floor has made HMDs center stage when it comes to Virtual Reality technologies.

As of the end of 2018, the three best selling Virtual Reality headsets were Sony’s PlayStation VR (PSVR), Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. This was not a surprise, seeing as the same three HMDs had also been best sellers in 2017. 2019 sees the VR landscape broadening with Google, HP, Lenovo, and others looking to grab a piece of the still-burgeoning market.


Modern VR headsets now fit under one of three categories: Mobile, tethered, or standalone. Mobile headsets are shells with lenses into which you place your smartphone. The lenses separate the screen into two images for your eyes, turning your smartphone into a VR device. Mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View are relatively inexpensive at around $100, and because all of the processing is done on your phone, you don't need to connect any wires to the headset. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaGLup9JNuU&t=1s
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