Leap Motion has been around for a while but now it's got a new lease of life as a VR peripheral compatible with both the Rift and HTC Vive. It attaches with an add-on mounted to the front of the headset and adds hand gesture controls to your virtual reality gaming. It's super precise, tracking each finger – the question is, how precise are your dumb human hands? https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-ONE-4K-360-VR-Video-Action-Camera-Sport-Camera-24MP-Bullet-Time-6-Axis-Gyroscope/32842429079.html
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.aliexpress.com/item/Blueskysea-B1W-Dash-Camera-Car-Dvr-Full-HD-1080P-Mini-WiFi-Dash-Cam-360-Degree-Rotate/32846376624.html
Tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift S, the HTC Vive, and the PlayStation VR are physically connected to PCs (or in the case of the PS VR, a PlayStation 4). The cable makes them a bit unwieldy, but putting all of the actual video processing in a box you don't need to directly strap to your face means your VR experience can be a lot more complex. The use of a dedicated display in the headset instead of your smartphone drastically improves image fidelity, and either external sensors or outward-facing cameras on the headset provide full 6DOF movement tracking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXlnrFpCu0c&t=1s
By 1994, Sega released the Sega VR-1 motion simulator arcade attraction, 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. Apple released QuickTime VR, which, despite using the term "VR", was unable to represent virtual reality, and instead displayed 360 photographic panoramas. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Z-Flex-Tilt-Tripod-Head-Aluminum-Alloy-Folding-Z-Tilt-Head-360-Rotary-Quick-Release-Plate/32881546188.html
Wherever it is too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something in reality, virtual reality is the answer. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications trainee surgeons, virtual reality allows us to take virtual risks in order to gain real world experience. As the cost of virtual reality goes down and it becomes more mainstream you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications, to come to the fore. Virtual reality and its cousin augmented reality could substantively change the way we interface with our digital technologies. Continuing the trend of humanising our technology. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVQi3UNfKF0&t=1s
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.
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=14O7AxqjiVY&t=1s
Expand your media adventures and social gaming communities with accessories and peripherals created for virtual reality. For example, a VR controller offers seamless integration with virtual reality games to give you more control over your virtual environment. Beyond PC gaming, virtual reality experiences also encompass other forms of video. Virtual reality-compatible cameras capable of filming in 360 degrees offer you the chance to view and edit your footage, along with other VR-ready components.
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKZ65RpueMI&t=1s
The emphasis here is future, as in several years away. That brings us to the second biggest reason the HoloLens and Magic Leap One aren't on this list: They aren't consumer products. Both devices are purely intended as development hardware, so AR software can be made for their platforms. Even the just-announced HoloLens 2, the second iteration of Microsoft's AR headset, is aimed specifically at developers and enterprise users rather than consumers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCDmIVRRwSQ&t=1s
In 1991, Sega announced the Sega VR headset for arcade games and the Mega Drive console. It used LCD screens in the visor, stereo headphones, and inertial sensors that allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user's head. In the same year, Virtuality launched and went on to become the first mass-produced, networked, multiplayer VR entertainment system that was released in many countries, including a dedicated VR arcade at Embarcadero Center. Costing up to $73,000 per multi-pod Virtuality system, they featured headsets and exoskeleton gloves that gave one of the first "immersive" VR experiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLbY1W-ursw&t=1s
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." https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Global-PROTRULY-V10S-Smartphone-360-Degree-26MP-3D-VR-Full-View-Android-7-1-Snapdrago
The big upside to Oculus is that its ecosystem is pretty robust. There are over 1,000 apps and games available to you for the Go. Now you're not going to get some of the more high-end experiences, like Robo Recall, but you're not going to be hurting for content. Oculus' home screen is also probably the best in VR, even on the standalone Go. Finally, you're going to get about 1.5 hours of battery life if you're gaming and 2.5 hours if you're watching videos. The basic version comes with 32GB of storage, you camp bump up to 64GB of storage for a cool £50 more.
You already know how satisfying it is to watch a complex set of dominoes systematically collapse. That sound, that feeling of watching something crumble. But what if someone set up dominoes around you, and then you could watch them slowly fall around you? That's what this video is, and it may be one of the more satisfying uses of 360 photography yet. Bonus points for reversing the dominoes at the end. Alternatively, check out GoPro's video surrounding you with soda and Mentos explosions.
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
VR headsets may regularly cause eye fatigue, as does all screened technology, because people tend to blink less when watching screens, causing their eyes to become more dried out. There have been some concerns about VR headsets contributing to myopia, but although VR headsets sit close to the eyes, they may not necessarily contribute to nearsightedness if the focal length of the image being displayed is sufficiently far away.
According to CEO Stanislas Chesnais, the 3DRudder was designed for "existing games where two hands aren't enough [for] VR, where you don't actually have any solutions today to move in a nice way while sitting." A circular device that you control with both feet by tilting in the direction you want to move, the 3DRudder's latency-free design means that response to your movements is instant and requires little thought. "It's like in real life," says Chesnais. "When you do something [like] set the table… you don't think about your feet moving around. Your hands are what matter."
Tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift S, the HTC Vive, and the PlayStation VR are physically connected to PCs (or in the case of the PS VR, a PlayStation 4). The cable makes them a bit unwieldy, but putting all of the actual video processing in a box you don't need to directly strap to your face means your VR experience can be a lot more complex. The use of a dedicated display in the headset instead of your smartphone drastically improves image fidelity, and either external sensors or outward-facing cameras on the headset provide full 6DOF movement tracking. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Drifter-For-Insta360-ONE-X/32947447669.html
One of the cool things about VR and 360 video is that it can put you in an experience you wouldn't be able to get before. In the case of this video from MythBusters, that's a couple yards away from a postal van filled with explosives. Not only do you get to experience the explosion from the safety of your own home, the video guides you through the explosion frame by frame, millisecond by millisecond. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrI9In6PqCI&t=1s
While audio-visual information is most easily replicated in Virtual Reality, active research and development efforts are still being conducted into the other senses. Tactile inputs such as omnidirectional treadmills allow users to feel as though they’re actually walking through a simulation, rather than sitting in a chair or on a couch. Haptic technologies, also known as kinesthetic or touch feedback tech, have progressed from simple spinning-weight “rumble” motors to futuristic ultrasound technology. It is now possible to hear and feel true-to-life sensations along with visual VR experiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6pWEzkbnDE&t=1s
Bees are, like, super important to how our ecologies work. You probably learned all of this in elementary school, but have you ever seen the process, from beginning to end? The National Honey Board wants to show you, in 360. You'll be a bee flying from flower to flower, then going back into the hive with the queen bee. After that, you'll take a look at how they get the honey out of the honeycombs and onto your table. Warning: Tons of buzzing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7hofCnniJE&t=1s
Special input devices are required for interaction with the virtual world. These include the 3D mouse, the wired glove, motion controllers, and optical tracking sensors. Controllers typically use optical tracking systems (primarily infrared cameras) for location and navigation, so that the user can move freely without wiring. Some input devices provide the user with force feedback to the hands or other parts of the body, so that the human being can orientate himself in the three-dimensional world through haptics and sensor technology as a further sensory sensation and carry out realistic simulations. Additional haptic feedback can be obtained from omnidirectional treadmills (with which walking in virtual space is controlled by real walking movements) and vibration gloves and suits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPhmpfiWEEw&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/Insta360-Nano-4K-20MP-360-VR-Video-Camera-Panoramic-Livestream-Video-Chat-MultiView-Video-Camera-for/32848001272.html
Microsoft has been promoting its partnership with multiple headset manufacturers to produce a series of Windows 10-ready "mixed reality" headsets. The distinction between virtual reality and mixed reality is so far dubious, but it indicates an integration of augmented reality (AR) technology using cameras on the helmet. Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung are some of Microsoft's partners in this mixed reality program. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Car-Mobile-Phone-Holder-for-Iphone-6-Sumsung-Car-Air-Vent-Mount-Holder-USAMS-360-Degree/32604944534.html
In Virtual Reality, the computer uses similar sensors and math. However, rather than locating a real camera within a physical environment, the position of the user’s eyes are located within the simulated environment. If the user’s head turns, the graphics react accordingly. Rather than compositing virtual objects and a real scene, VR technology creates a convincing, interactive world for the user. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGZuH6B46H8&t=1s
The emphasis here is future, as in several years away. That brings us to the second biggest reason the HoloLens and Magic Leap One aren't on this list: They aren't consumer products. Both devices are purely intended as development hardware, so AR software can be made for their platforms. Even the just-announced HoloLens 2, the second iteration of Microsoft's AR headset, is aimed specifically at developers and enterprise users rather than consumers. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/YI-360-VR-Camera-220-degree-Dual-Lens-5-7K-30fps-Immersive-Live-stream-Effortless-Panoramic/32834396748.html
Because of just how expensive it is to invest in high-end VR, companies have worked hard to bring us affordable VR that can run on those handy supercomputers we all carry around in our pockets. Thus, here are the best headsets you can slip your phone into. They're generally wireless and many are under £100, so it's a whole different ball game to the beasts above. Be careful though, certain devices only work with certain phones, so check before putting down any cash. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MISECU-5-0MP-3-0MP-1-3MP-360-degree-VR-Audio-128GB-slot-Wireless-IP-Camera/32830686032.html
So far, Apple has been very cool on VR, but that's slowly starting to change, at least from a software development side. OS X High Sierra enables VR development on three major VR software platforms: Steam, Unity, and Unreal. It also uses Apple's Metal 2 framework, which the company says provides the performance necessary for VR. No plans for any Apple-branded VR headset have been announced—we'll much more likely see Rift or Vive compatibility added to Macs. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Sovawin-VR-360-Degree-Camera-4K-Wifi-Video-Mini-Panoramic-2448-2448-HD-Panorama-Action-Waterproof/32791476785.html
In 2014, Sony announced Project Morpheus (its code name for the PlayStation VR), a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 video game console. In 2015, Google announced Cardboard, a do-it-yourself stereoscopic viewer: the user places their smartphone in the cardboard holder, which they wear on their head. Michael Naimark was appointed Google's first-ever 'resident artist' in their new VR division. The Kickstarter campaign for Gloveone, a pair of gloves providing motion tracking and haptic feedback, was successfully funded, with over $150,000 in contributions. Also in 2015, Razer unveiled its open source project OSVR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lv3bUU4k_w&t=1s
The two images are then stitched together on the computer just after import. The stitched image (looks like the thumbnail for the above video) is called “equirectangular” format and looks like all 360° got compressed into a single 16:9 frame. Viewers and websites such as YouTube and Vimeo can detect this kind of footage in the file metadata and display it in VR form. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPshDTGndrs&t=1s
Independent production of VR images and video has increased by the development of omnidirectional cameras, also known as 360-degree cameras or VR cameras, that have the ability to record 360 interactive photography, although at low-resolutions or in highly-compressed formats for online streaming of 360 video. In contrast, photogrammetry is increasingly used to combine several high-resolution photographs for the creation of detailed 3D objects and environments in VR applications. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-2-Inch-Rotating-Sprinkler-360-Degree-Adjustable-Sprinkler-Irrigation-Watering-Garden-Spray-Nozzle-1-Pc/32849703229.html
Details remain scarce on the Cosmos, which looks like it may attempt to bridge the quality gap between tethered and untethered headsets. The Cosmos will require tethering to another device, but it may not be limited to high-end gaming PCs. A VR headset that can tether to a smartphone? Interesting idea. The Vive Cosmos promises “crystal-clear graphics” thanks to a new pixel-packing process that aims to minimize screen door effect as much as possible. The HMD’s tracking system promises wide and accurate tracking, gesture controls, and a 6 Degrees of freedom (DOF) headset-and-controller setup. No word on price or release date for the Cosmos yet, but expect it sometime in the second half of 2019.
Samsung’s approach to VR was different right from the beginning, and the Gear VR was an impressive piece of tech when it was first released in November of 2015. The Gear VR was a far more common sight than an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive in 2016 and 2017, largely because Samsung often gave the device away free with the purchase of a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Samsung’s VR HMD delivers a stripped-down VR experience, using Oculus head-tracking technology in combination with Android smartphones to power mobile VR experiences. Instead of dedicated display technology, lenses allow the phone’s screen to act as a stereoscopic display, making the device simpler and less expensive than other options. Samsung has added hand controllers to the Gear VR experience, bringing it more in line with current VR content. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNilPKyFlQI&t=1s
Virtual reality is the creation of a virtual environment presented to our senses in such a way that we experience it as if we were really there. It uses a host of technologies to achieve this goal and is a technically complex feat that has to account for our perception and cognition. It has both entertainment and serious uses. The technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread. We can expect to see many more innovative uses for the technology in the future and perhaps a fundamental way in which we communicate and work thanks to the possibilities of virtual reality. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Svpro-VR-3D-CAMERA-VR-BOX-SET-VIRTUAL-REALITY-KIT1-DOUBLE-HD-LENSES-3D-VIDEO-CAMERA/32770451276.html
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=y4oWTABwBEY&t=1s
In 2001, SAS Cube (SAS3) became the first PC-based cubic room, developed by Z-A Production (Maurice Benayoun, David Nahon), Barco, and Clarté. It was installed in Laval, France. The SAS3 library gave birth to Virtools VRPack. In 2007, Google introduced Street View, a service that shows panoramic views of an increasing number of worldwide positions such as roads, indoor buildings and rural areas. It also features a stereoscopic 3D mode, introduced in 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwavYvtumKA&t=1s