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.youtube.com/watch?v=3j_-FPNHY7U&t=1s
Oculus has both tethered and standalone headsets from the Go, to the Quest, to the Rift S. HTC has the Steam-friendly Vive and the developer-focused Vive Pro. Sony has the PS 4-focused PlayStation VR (that will apparently work with the PlayStation 5 if and when that system comes out), and Microsoft is supporting its Windows Mixed Reality platform with a variety of headsets from different manufacturers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwENYk66q6M&t=1s
Google keeps taking stabs at Virtual Reality, but the company’s impact has thus far been limited. The lack of a big-time success hasn’t been for lack of trying. Google was there in the earliest days of this current VR cycle with Google Cardboard, a do-it-yourself approach to mobile VR that has become a staple of trade shows — Cardboard was even given out free to New York Times subscribers, bundled with their Sunday paper. Google famously stumbled with Google Glass (itself a Mixed Reality HMD, not VR — more on this below). But Google is not deterred! In 2018, the company launched its Daydream platform and Daydream View HMD.
One place Microsoft has succeeded in how easy it is to set up its WMR headsets. It uses inside-out tracking, so you won't need to go plug in a bunch of sensors to make sure your headset is being seen. These headsets have built-in cameras and sensors that handle all of that. They'll even track the Windows Mixed Reality controllers, which suffer a bit because they rely on the headset being able to see them clearly to properly track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utx1Op_2kXA&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
Vive's Tracker might not look like much, but stick it on something and that "thing" becomes a controller. Yes, HTC is redefining how we think of mixed reality with this accessory, and now anyone can buy one. Developers have been busily finding exciting and unique ways to use the Tracker in games, which will require mounts for certain props, like guns and baseball bats. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/YI-HALO-VR-Camera-3D-360-camera-5GHz-Wi-Fi-2-2-Inch-LCD-Touch-Screen/32835202184.html
^ Bukhari, Hatim; Andreatta, Pamela; Goldiez, Brian; Rabelo, Luis (2017-01-01). "A Framework for Determining the Return on Investment of Simulation-Based Training in Health Care". INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing. 54: 0046958016687176. doi:10.1177/0046958016687176. ISSN 0046-9580. PMC 5798742. PMID 28133988.
Standalone headsets were at first a useful novelty that offered a taste of VR without an investment into a gaming PC or a flagship phone. The Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo are both capable headsets that work well on their own, but they have the same limited controls as mobile headsets. The recently released Oculus Quest, however, has really sold us on this category. The Quest uses similar outward-facing cameras to the new Rift S to provide 6DOF motion tracking, and uses the same Oculus Touch motion controls. Combined with a faster Snapdragon 835 processor compared with the Oculus Go's Snapdragon 821, the Quest offers a much more compelling and immersive VR experience, all without the unwieldy cable or PC requirement of the Rift S. We hope to see more standalone 6DOF, dual motion controller headsets in the future, like the upcoming HTC Vive Focus Plus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPg89qonG0E&t=1s
^ Bukhari, Hatim; Andreatta, Pamela; Goldiez, Brian; Rabelo, Luis (2017-01-01). "A Framework for Determining the Return on Investment of Simulation-Based Training in Health Care". INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing. 54: 0046958016687176. doi:10.1177/0046958016687176. ISSN 0046-9580. PMC 5798742. PMID 28133988. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4vRFodAqWo&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.
HTC has branched out beyond tethered headsets with the standalone Vive Focus series. Originally launched only in China, the Vive Focus came to North America late last year, and its 6DOF follow-up, the Vive Focus Plus, will see worldwide release later this year. Both are completely self-contained VR headsets similar to the Lenovo Mirage Solo, capable of full motion tracking and room mapping. The Vive Focus headsets are currently being aimed at the enterprise market rather than consumers, emphasizing their ability to offer virtual training and conferencing in a business context. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Anker-SoundCore-Dual-Driver-Portable-Wireless-Bluetooth-Speaker-with-24-Hour-Playtime-66-Foot-Bluetooth-Range/32718503055.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.
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=JsuyAIANYnw&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
In 2010, Palmer Luckey designed the first prototype of the Oculus Rift. This prototype, built on a shell of another virtual reality headset, was only capable of rotational tracking. However, it boasted a 90-degree field of vision that was previously unseen in the consumer market at the time. Distortion issues arising from the lens used to create the field of vision were corrected for by software written by John Carmack for a version of Doom 3. This initial design would later serve as a basis from which the later designs came. In 2012, the Rift is presented for the first time at the E3 gaming trade show by Carmack. In 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus VR for what at the time was stated as $2 billion but later revealed that the more accurate figure was $3 billion. This purchase occurred after the first development kits ordered through Oculus' 2012 Kickstarter had shipped in 2013 but before the shipping of their second development kits in 2014. Zenimax, Carmack's former employer, sued Oculus and Facebook for taking company secrets to Facebook; the verdict was in favour of Zenimax, settled out of court later. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/9880-Anti-Police-Anti-Radar-Detector-Touch-Button-Laser-eye-360-degree-detection-Fully-16-bands/32847951694.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.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl9JS8-gnWQ&t=1s
In 1979, Eric Howlett developed the Large Expanse, Extra Perspective (LEEP) optical system. The combined system created a stereoscopic image with a field of view wide enough to create a convincing sense of space. The users of the system have been impressed by the sensation of depth (field of view) in the scene and the corresponding realism. The original LEEP system was redesigned for NASA's Ames Research Center in 1985 for their first virtual reality installation, the VIEW (Virtual Interactive Environment Workstation) by Scott Fisher. The LEEP system provides the basis for most of the modern virtual reality headsets. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SVPRO-hd-vr-camera-double-720p-virtual-reality-vr-box-android-phone-3d-vision-camcorder-for/32761261760.html
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).
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XctL6omkT4I&t=1s
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.
Naming discrepancies aside, the concept remains the same - using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. Scientists, theorists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what exactly constitutes a true VR experience, but in general it should include: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCokPdW_udDtALG8Rd_u-hdg
The exact origins of virtual reality are disputed, partly because of how difficult it has been to formulate a definition for the concept of an alternative existence. The development of perspective in Renaissance Europe created convincing depictions of spaces that did not exist, in what has been referred to as the "multiplying of artificial worlds". Other elements of virtual reality appeared as early as the 1860s. Antonin Artaud took the view that illusion was not distinct from reality, advocating that spectators at a play should suspend disbelief and regard the drama on stage as reality. The first references to the more modern concept of virtual reality came from science fiction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU8oSjtZlx4&t=1s
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=4uCBhzulVec&t=1s
In 1992, Nicole Stenger created Angels, the first real-time interactive immersive movie where the interaction was facilitated with a dataglove and high-resolution goggles. That same year, Louis Rosenberg created the virtual fixtures system at the U.S. Air Force's Armstrong Labs using a full upper-body exoskeleton, enabling a physically realistic mixed reality in 3D. The system enabled the overlay of physically real 3D virtual objects registered with a user's direct view of the real world, producing the first true augmented reality experience enabling sight, sound, and touch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZvGJjeLUlg&t=1s
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=hTFe95oFnDM&t=1s
^ Bukhari, Hatim; Andreatta, Pamela; Goldiez, Brian; Rabelo, Luis (2017-01-01). "A Framework for Determining the Return on Investment of Simulation-Based Training in Health Care". INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing. 54: 0046958016687176. doi:10.1177/0046958016687176. ISSN 0046-9580. PMC 5798742. PMID 28133988. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBlhXKjSy6M&t=1s
Basically, these AR headsets have transparent lenses that let you look at your surroundings, instead of completely replacing your vision with a computer-generated image. They can still project images over whatever you're looking at, but those images are designed to complement and interact with the area around you. You can make a web browser pop up in the middle of a room, for instance, or watch animals run around your coffee table. It's fascinating technology that could hint at the future of computing. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Product-Brazilian-Virgin-Hair-360-Lace-Frontal-Straight-With-Baby-Hair-Lace-Frontal-Wig-360/32733906711.html
The newest breed of mobile headsets can also be considered "tethered," because instead of inserting your phone into the headset itself, you physically connect your phone with a USB-C cable. Qualcomm has been emphasizing the VR and augmented reality capabilities of its Snapdragon 855 processor, and is promoting a new ecosystem of XR viewers (including both AR and VR devices). These use the aforementioned USB-C connection to run all processing from a smartphone, while keeping the display technology built separately into the VR headset or AR glasses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLtcPTm5dTg&t=1s