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.youtube.com/watch?v=f4oKi1vNIEo&t=1s
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.
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.aliexpress.com/item/USB-PC-wireless-gaming-receiver-for-xbox-360-controller-microsoft-XBOX360-console-gamepad-adapter-accessories-Windows/32785455216.html
Desktop-based virtual reality involves displaying a 3D virtual world on a regular desktop display without use of any specialized positional tracking equipment. Many modern first-person video games can be used as an example, using various triggers, responsive characters, and other such interactive devices to make the user feel as though they are in a virtual world. A common criticism of this form of immersion is that there is no sense of peripheral vision, limiting the user's ability to know what is happening around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ6a-pCgDH0&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.aliexpress.com/item/-/32793397293.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):
No conversation about Mixed Reality HMDs is ever complete until someone brings up Apple. Yes, the company has no available or announced devices in this space — but there isn’t a soul following technology trends that doesn’t believe the Cupertino giant isn’t a) working on some kind of AR glasses, b) acquiring companies that make lenses and materials that are perfect for some kind of AR glasses, and c) talking about AR as a transformational technology every time a microphone appears. The rumor mill says Apple’s glasses could appear in 2019, but we have our money on a 2020 launch, alongside a newly redesigned and reimagined iPhone that moves away from the “iPhone X design” for the first time since it launched. Stay tuned. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/FeiyuTech-Feiyu-360-degree-Gimbal-Automatic-Rotation-Stand-for-Smartphones-Mirrorless-Action-Cameras-All-1-4/32907763034.html
While they can offer a taste of VR, mobile headsets don't provide the full experience. They tend to offer three-degrees-of-freedom (3DOF) motion tracking, following your direction but not your position. They also only come with one motion controller, which is also 3DOF-only. You don't get the same immersiveness you do with six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) motion tracking and dual motion controllers, which might be why Google and Samsung have been largely quiet lately about their mobile headsets. The Nintendo Labo VR Kit is its own unique case, but it's more of a novelty for Switch owners.
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.
David Em became the first artist to produce navigable virtual worlds at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from 1977 to 1984. The Aspen Movie Map, a crude virtual tour in which users could wander the streets of Aspen in one of the three modes (summer, winter, and polygons), was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1978.
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=atEkAkPfpUY&t=1s
In 2016, HTC shipped its first units of the HTC Vive SteamVR headset. This marked the first major commercial release of sensor-based tracking, allowing for free movement of users within a defined space. A patent filed by Sony in 2017 showed they were developing a similar location tracking technology to the Vive for PlayStation VR, with the potential for the development of a wireless headset.
But the competition is closer than ever. Vive is also excellent (and still offers the best room scale), while the Sony PlayStation VR is a big seller thanks to its significantly lower price and the ubiquity of PlayStation 4 consoles ready to run it. There are now better standalone VR headsets too if you want a hassle-free route to the immersive realms. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cover-Mobile-Phone-Case-For-Coolpad-Note-5-Lite-5-0-inch-Frosted-Matte-Design-Hard/32826926530.html
Like the Go, you'll need the companion app on your smartphone to set the headset and the controllers up, but it doesn't take very long at all to do. Then you can start downloading apps, games and experiences from the app or through the headset and there's familiar titles here that have already popped up on the pricier Rift. So, Beat Saber, Thumper, Space Pirate Trainer, and Creed: Rise to Glory all make the cut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COaMKbNrX0&t=1s
When it comes to moving your feet, most peripherals are stuck in traditional gaming mode: You jump with 'A' or use a joystick to walk, ignoring immersive motion from the waist down. Believing VR should have some more mobility options, the folks at 3DRudder created a VR footpad that allows the user to control all movement – horizontal, vertical and turning – using only their feet. (No word on realistically jerky jumping as of yet, though.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Scd9baRjf8&t=1s
I knew the new year would come with new opportunities and new experiences, but I didn’t expect that just 1 week after New Years I would be told I had 2 weeks to create a 360° VR promo video for the construction company that does nationwide remodels of companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chipotle, Chili’s, Home Depot, Walgreens, etc. This was a pretty big deal, and I had very little time to gather my thoughts, find models, locations, confirm scripts, shoot, and then edit (especially considering 360° shooting and editing was new to me).
The more powerful Vive Pro offers a higher-resolution display, outward-facing cameras, and a handful of other enhanced features, but it isn't nearly as compelling as the regular Vive; it costs $300 more, and doesn't include the base stations and motion controllers needed to work, so you effectively need to already have a Vive or spend even more money to get set up with it. If that isn't enough power, the Vive Pro Eye adds built-in eye-tracking to the already advanced headset.
The Labo VR Kit has you building a mobile VR headset out of cardboard, like the older Google Cardboard headsets, which you insert the Nintendo Switch into. You then build other controllers, like a camera or a blaster, and attach them to the headset to play games. It's fun and engaging, but even with an impressive game development kit in the software, it's ultimately just a novelty. The Labo VR Kit mostly provides 3DOF motion control, even if it uses the Joy-Cons' motion sensors in some very clever ways (one controller creates a triangulated 6DOF motion control system using both Joy-Cons in tandem), and the Switch's 720p screen offers some of the simplest and grainiest VR graphics we've seen in years. It scores so highly with us because as its own product, a crafts kit for kids who want to learn about VR and game development, it's excellent. It just isn't a feasible VR platform like the other systems discussed here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBGpU3Wo0zs&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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnbS8L2m49g&t=1s
Daydream comes with a 3DoF (degrees of freedom) controller and supports most smartphones, but the quality of VR will vary depending on the phone you're slotting in there. While the quality of games can't compete with the big names, the Daydream platform has consolidated over the past year with a respectable lineup – including Wareable favourite Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X6XAbRfk6c&t=1s
Modern virtual reality headset displays are based on technology developed for smartphones including: gyroscopes and motion sensors for tracking head, hand, and body positions; small HD screens for stereoscopic displays; and small, lightweight and fast computer processors. These components led to relative affordability for independent VR developers, and lead to the 2012 Oculus Rift Kickstarter offering the first independently developed VR headset. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6n3iNh4XLI&t=1s
Virtual Reality is no longer a dream. It's here – in all its stunning, three-dimensional glory. Boasting powerful processing and lightning-fast graphics cards, our systems deliver breathtaking images and a virtual reality that's richly detailed incredibly lifelike. Best of all, our many of our VR gaming systems also give you the power work on files, surf the web, connect via social media and more – making them multi-functional devices that are designed for the way you live. Explore all of our VR systems, games and Xbox systems – and elevate your gaming experience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyIEUBrlfaw&t=1s
The PlayStation VR is compelling thanks to Sony backing development for it and the affordability and availability of the PlayStation 4 compared with gaming PCs. All you need is the headset, a PlayStation 4, and a PlayStation Camera (now included with most PlayStation VR bundles). There are some excellent games on PS VR like Moss, Rez Infinite, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, with Sony and other developers working on several more (including Five Nights at Freddy's VR).
From the different headsets we've tested, the hardware is sound and the setup is simple, but position tracking isn't as accurate as tethered headsets with external sensors or the Rift S' new outward-facing tracking cameras. Also, the Windows Mixed Reality store doesn't have as many compelling VR experiences as the Rift and SteamVR stores, though you can use SteamVR games on Windows Mixed Reality headsets, again with some software wrestling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEM7ORVSuoI&t=1s
There are many health and safety considerations of virtual reality. A number of unwanted symptoms have been caused by prolonged use of virtual reality, and these may have slowed proliferation of the technology. Most virtual reality systems come with consumer warnings, including: seizures; developmental issues in children; trip-and-fall and collision warnings; discomfort; repetitive stress injury; and interference with medical devices. Some users may experience twitches, seizures or blackouts while using VR headsets, even if they do not have a history of epilepsy and have never had blackouts or seizures before. As many as one in 4,000 people may experience these symptoms. Since these symptoms are more common among people under the age of 20, children are advised against using VR headsets. Other problems may occur in physical interactions with one's environment. While wearing VR headsets, people quickly lose awareness of their real-world surroundings and may injure themselves by tripping over, or colliding with real-world objects. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRR1KT82fcU&t=1s
The Oculus Quest costs twice as much as the Oculus Go, but it's well worth it. It has a more powerful Snapdragon 835 processor and a sharper OLED screen, but more importantly it offers full 6DOF motion tracking with dual motion controls. In fact, it uses the same Oculus Touch controllers as the Oculus Rift S. It's limited to Oculus' mobile software store, like the Oculus Go, so it won't provide the same selection as the PC-based Rift S and its much bigger Oculus Store. Still, there are already some very compelling experiences on it, like Beat Saber and Superhot VR, that make it well worth your attention.
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.
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
From the different headsets we've tested, the hardware is sound and the setup is simple, but position tracking isn't as accurate as tethered headsets with external sensors or the Rift S' new outward-facing tracking cameras. Also, the Windows Mixed Reality store doesn't have as many compelling VR experiences as the Rift and SteamVR stores, though you can use SteamVR games on Windows Mixed Reality headsets, again with some software wrestling. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/AUKEY-360-Degree-Universal-Car-Holder-Magnetic-Air-Vent-Mount-Smartphone-Dock-Mobile-Phone-Holder-for/32580819279.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
Many other companies are developing Virtual Reality headsets and other peripherals. Upcoming hardware includes the GenBasic Quad HD, StarVR StarOne, Vrgineers XTAL and Pansonite VR Headset. As more and better hardware hits the market, it will continue to power a growing ecosystem of hardware manufacturers, software developers, and content providers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpHQ-iu5EGs&t=1s
In 2013, Valve Corporation discovered and freely shared the breakthrough of low-persistence displays which make lag-free and smear-free display of VR content possible. This was adopted by Oculus and was used in all their future headsets. In early 2014, Valve showed off their SteamSight prototype, the precursor to both consumer headsets released in 2016. It shared major features with the consumer headsets including separate 1K displays per eye, low persistence, positional tracking over a large area, and fresnel lenses. HTC and Valve announced the virtual reality headset HTC Vive and controllers in 2015. The set included tracking technology called Lighthouse, which utilized wall-mounted "base stations" for positional tracking using infrared light.
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.aliexpress.com/item/SVPRO-3D-Camera-HD-dual-lens-panoramic-video-camera-virtual-reality-vr-vision-support-android-cell/32756081890.html
Virtual reality (VR) is an experience taking place within simulated and immersive environments that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment (i.e. gaming) and educational purposes (i.e. medical or military training). Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouqtjetglwI&t=1s
The NBA has long been interested in virtual reality and 360 filmmaking, so it's no surprise that it would decide to take one of the most exciting events on All Star Weekend, the Dunk Contest, and turn it into a 360 video. In this case, you'll get to see all the dunks of winner Donovan Mitchell. Sit courtside as this mountain of a man charges to the hoop and seemingly defies the laws of physics.
The Fove setup is an 5.7-inch, 1440p display; a 100+ degree field of view; 70fps frame rate; and eye-tracking measured at 120fps. With the redesigned developer kit, gone are the big side panels and quite a lot of the heft of the last prototype design. The company promises the new model offers "dramatically reduced weight, size and overall wearability, as well as better production efficiency." You might have to wait a bit though – Fove hasn't confirmed plans for the consumer version just yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPyAQQklc1s&t=1s