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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=iNWHHhIsE00&t=1s
The HTC Vive has been one of the best VR HMDs on the market since its consumer release back in 2016. Manufactured by HTC, the Vive was the first VR HMD to support SteamVR. The Vive has been locked in fierce competition with the Oculus Rift since release, as both headsets aimed at the same top end of the VR enthusiast market. The Vive has proven itself a durable workhorse for enterprise solutions, while also delivering one of the best consumer VR experiences available. The Vive was first released back in 2016, and has gone through several iterations, with the addition of a wireless module. The Vive Pro came out in 2018 and the Vive Pro Eye and the HTC Vive Cosmos are both slated for release in the second half of 2019. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-Nano-360-Degree-Panoramic-Camera-3K-HD-Mini-VR-Camera-210-Degree-Dual-Wide-Angle/32697639175.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=URuyK7S2mgo&t=1s


The Oculus Rift was the first big name in the current wave of VR, and Oculus is still a major player. The Rift S has a higher resolution than the Vive (but not as high as the Vive Pro or, strangely, the Oculus Quest) and newer and lighter Oculus Touch motion controllers, and doesn't need external sensors to work. It does, however, need DisplayPort; if your PC only has an HDMI output, you might want to hunt for the previous Rift and deal with the extra cables. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgdo7-RRjgo&t=1s


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.[25] In 2012, the Rift is presented for the first time at the E3 gaming trade show by Carmack.[26][27] In 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus VR for what at the time was stated as $2 billion[28] but later revealed that the more accurate figure was $3 billion.[27] 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.[29] Zenimax, Carmack's former employer, sued Oculus and Facebook for taking company secrets to Facebook;[27] the verdict was in favour of Zenimax, settled out of court later.[30] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Tronsmart-Element-T6-Bluetooth-4-1-Portable-Speaker-Wireless-Soundbar-Audio-Receiver-Mini-Speakers-USB-AUX/32822658286.html

Virtual reality sickness (also known as cybersickness) occurs when a person's exposure to a virtual environment causes symptoms that are similar to motion sickness symptoms.[82] Women are significantly more affected than men by headset-induced symptoms, at rates of around 77% and 33% respectively.[83][84] The most common symptoms are general discomfort, headache, stomach awareness, nausea, vomiting, pallor, sweating, fatigue, drowsiness, disorientation, and apathy.[85] For example, Nintendo's Virtual Boy received much criticism for its negative physical effects, including "dizziness, nausea, and headaches".[86] These motion sickness symptoms are caused by a disconnect between what is being seen and what the rest of the body perceives. When the vestibular system, the body's internal balancing system, does not experience the motion that it expects from visual input through the eyes, the user may experience VR sickness. This can also happen if the VR system does not have a high enough frame rate, or if there is a lag between the body's movement and the onscreen visual reaction to it.[87] Because approximately 25–40% of people experience some kind of VR sickness when using VR machines, companies are actively looking for ways to reduce VR sickness.[88] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaZ2btqTvwI&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.[24] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfXgKs1daJ4&t=1s

There remains a significant amount of confusion about the differences between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. (Check out our exhaustive primers on Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality for an in-depth look at the differences.) The public seems to think that AR is a phone experience, while only VR requires an HMD. Mixed Reality devices like the Microsoft Hololens use a headset to overlay 3D imagery on top of the real world. Very cool, but not Virtual Reality. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32673925656.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
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/Soul-Lady-Peruvian-Body-Wave-Remy-Human-Hair-13-4-Ear-To-Ear-Lace-Frontal-with/32809358235.html
It's also got a bunch of doodads to help you customise your mobile experience. Adjust the lenses all you want, click two buttons to interact with your content; pop out the front window in case you ever need to use it for mixed/augmented reality purposes. Speaking of which, Merge now also sells the AR Merge cube, which lets you put mixed reality experiences in the palm of your hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0bzBxxDQzs&t=1s
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