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.youtube.com/watch?v=wczdECcwRw0&t=1s
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=90nDMSIgt7I&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.
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=A2yWbxK7hN8&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).
^ Park, George D.; Allen, R. Wade; Fiorentino, Dary; Rosenthal, Theodore J.; Cook, Marcia L. (5 November 2016). "Simulator Sickness Scores According to Symptom Susceptibility, Age, and Gender for an Older Driver Assessment Study". Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 50 (26): 2702–2706. doi:10.1177/154193120605002607. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkV78IABdS4zD1eVgUpCmaw
HTC's Vive is a comprehensive package that includes a headset, two motion controllers, and two base stations for defining a "whole-room" VR area. It's technically impressive, and can track your movements in a 10-foot cube instead of just from your seat. It also includes a set of motion controllers more advanced than the PlayStation Move. PC-tethered VR systems like the Vive need plenty of power, with HTC recommending at least an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU and a GeForce GTX 970 GPU. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-360-Degree-Reflective-Prism-Set-for-Leica-ATR-Total-station-Replaces-MPR122/32918809914.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=_zUCMfYkgj0&t=1s
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=iHCEGDeQjsQ&t=1s
To create a feeling of immersion, special output devices are needed to display virtual worlds. Well-known formats include head-mounted displays or the CAVE. In order to convey a spatial impression, two images are generated and displayed from different perspectives (stereo projection). There are different technologies available to bring the respective image to the right eye. A distinction is made between active (e.g. shutter glasses) and passive technologies (e.g. polarizing filters or Infitec).
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.aliexpress.com/item/Andoer-360-Degree-Video-Camera-4K-Ultra-HD-WiFi-VR-Camera-Handheld-Panoramic-Video-Camera-with/32894336986.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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVnHZ5SF1Jg&t=1s
You can float down the Colorado River inside the Grand Canyon in this immersive VR adventure. Start off in calm waters and quickly get blasted in the rough whitewater rapids of the Hance, Granite, and Hermit. If you've always wanted to try an adventure on the rapids, but are a bit scared, this video will give you a sense of what it's like without the wet side effects.
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
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
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=WfXgKs1daJ4&t=1s
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.youtube.com/watch?v=IAyWOgcnJTY&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.
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/channel/UCLMLTE5R-LR26VKfnaDQtEA
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
The first fine art virtual world was created in the 1970s. As the technology developed, more artistic programs were produced throughout the 1990s, including feature films. When commercially available technology became more widespread, VR festivals began to emerge in the mid-2010s. The first uses of VR in museum settings began in the 1990s, seeing a significant increase in the mid-2010s. Additionally, museums have begun making some of their content virtual reality accessible. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Nintendo-Switch-Silicone-Case-Cover-All-in-one-Silicon-360-Degree-Protective-Case-for-Nintendo-Switch/32799384114.html
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.
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. 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. A 2018 review on the effectiveness of mirror therapy by virtual reality and robotics for any type of pathology concluded in a similar way. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHUErvVAeIw&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
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