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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.

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.youtube.com/watch?v=A6aRkhlqWuE&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=gPUDZPWhiiE&t=1s
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-o5HhGK-EY&t=1s
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.
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.
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."[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wczdECcwRw0&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.[80] 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.[81] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degrees-Car-Speed-Laser-Radar/32925663509.html
In projector-based virtual reality, modeling of the real environment plays a vital role in various virtual reality applications, such as robot navigation, construction modeling, and airplane simulation. Image-based virtual reality system has been gaining popularity in computer graphics and computer vision communities. In generating realistic models, it is essential to accurately register acquired 3D data; usually, camera is used for modeling small objects at a short distance. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2017-newst-HD-3D-360-degree-panoramic-driving-support-syste-Surround-View-System-Bird-View-Panorama/32804279638.html

Windows Mixed Reality is aimed at creating a more affordable version of high-end VR, and many of the headsets are built to run in two modes: one for PCs with dedicated graphics cards and one for PCs with integrated graphics. Many of these headsets start around $300, but at the top of the pile is the Samsung Odyssey. It has built-in spatial headphones from AKG, two 1400 X 1600 AMOLED displays, and a 110-degree field of view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6Dkt7zyImk&t=1s
We know the world through our senses and perception systems. In school we all learned that we have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance for example. These other sensory inputs, plus some special processing of sensory information by our brains ensures that we have a rich flow of information from the environment to our minds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdAkPKKvYl4&t=1s
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=wIjK-6Do6lg&t=1s
In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his students including Bob Sproull, created what was widely considered to be the first head-mounted display system for use in immersive simulation applications. It was primitive both in terms of user interface and visual realism, and the HMD to be worn by the user was so heavy that it had to be suspended from the ceiling. The graphics comprising the virtual environment were simple wire-frame model rooms. The formidable appearance of the device inspired its name, The Sword of Damocles. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeTRKHDKM6Rw69d25i2ksTw
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).[citation needed] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrZuH2MtLcs&t=1s

In our hands-on time with the Odyssey, we felt it was the one Mixed Reality headset that's on the same level as Oculus Rift. It has a premium, comfortable feel that the other headsets, from the likes of Lenovo, Acer and HP don't have. For Windows Mixed Reality right now, Samsung holds the bar. With the arrival of the Odyssey+, Samsung has improved things further with double the pixel count than the first Odyssey and an Anti-SDE (Screen-Door Effect) Display, aimed at mitigating a condition that can lead to mild dizziness and nausea.


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.
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

In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, with the help of his students including Bob Sproull, created what was widely considered to be the first head-mounted display system for use in immersive simulation applications. It was primitive both in terms of user interface and visual realism, and the HMD to be worn by the user was so heavy that it had to be suspended from the ceiling. The graphics comprising the virtual environment were simple wire-frame model rooms. The formidable appearance of the device inspired its name, The Sword of Damocles. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/US-Plug-AC-Adapter-Charging-Charger-Power-Supply-Cord-Cable-for-Xbox-360-Xbox360-E-Brick/32814634201.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


Despite being one of the big three in high-end VR, the PS VR is a noticeable step down from the Rift and Vive. It's got a 120Hz refresh rate, which is higher than the others, but it's not as crisp with its 1920 x 1080 resolution, which means things are a little more blurry. Plus, its PS Move controllers feel very long in the tooth; they're repurposed motion controllers from the days when the Nintendo Wii was popular, and feel very outdated when compared to the Rift's Touch controllers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25I2awKuaCg&t=1s
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.

Now I can start actually editing the timeline, put things to music, figure out transitions and where graphics will go. When I have a first cut of the timeline, I export sections at a time where motion graphics will be. Inside After Effects I can create a 3D camera using their “immersive” tools, convert all motion graphic to 3D layers and create the motion inside the immersive camera view. Viewing and editing on the flat, equirectangular format does little good to anyone. When motion graphics are done, I can export them and replace the original footage in the timeline with the newly exported motion graphic versions.
That same year, Carolina Cruz-Neira, Daniel J. Sandin and Thomas A. DeFanti from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory created the first cubic immersive room, the Cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE). Developed as Cruz-Neira's PhD thesis, it involved a multi-projected environment, similar to the holodeck, allowing people to see their own bodies in relation to others in the room.[13][14] Antonio Medina, a MIT graduate and NASA scientist, designed a virtual reality system to "drive" Mars rovers from Earth in apparent real time despite the substantial delay of Mars-Earth-Mars signals.[15] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOEyGEGypvs&t=1s
By the 1980s, the term "virtual reality" was popularized by Jaron Lanier, one of the modern pioneers of the field. Lanier had founded the company VPL Research in 1985. VPL Research has developed several VR devices like the DataGlove, the EyePhone, and the AudioSphere. VPL licensed the DataGlove technology to Mattel, which used it to make the Power Glove, an early affordable VR device.
For those who aren’t hip on the trends and changes of technology, 360° video or VR (Virtual Reality) is video content that is operated much like that of Google Maps; you can look in any direction (hence 360°) at any given time. Except, unlike Google Maps, which is a 360° photo, this is video, constantly happening around you. It crosses over into being considered virtual reality — when you view these videos on a headset/goggles (or a phone in goggles most commonly) so that as you move your head and body, it changes what you’re looking at and operates in a ‘realistic’ way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhIRvex35V0&t=1s
Virtual reality is most commonly used in entertainment applications such as video gaming and 3D cinema. Consumer virtual reality headsets were first released by video game companies in the early-mid 1990s. Beginning in the 2010s, next-generation commercial tethered headsets were released by Oculus (Rift), HTC (Vive) and Sony (PlayStation VR), setting off a new wave of application development.[49] 3D cinema has been used for sporting events, pornography, fine art, music videos and short films. Since 2015, roller coasters and theme parks have incorporated virtual reality to match visual effects with haptic feedback.[39]
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=fdNHr_lWIOo&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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32822658286.html
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
There’s a second class of Virtual Reality HMD that is really just a shell with special lens that pairs with a smartphone to deliver a VR experience. These devices can sell for almost nothing (and are often given away free), and deliver a scaled down VR experience that still approaches the immersive experiences generated by much-more expensive hardware.
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?
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
Originally funded as a Kickstarter project in 2012, and engineered with the help of John Carmack (founder of Id Software, of Doom and Quake fame), Oculus became the early leader in Virtual Reality hardware for video games. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, and brought the company’s high-end VR HMD to market for consumers. More recently, Oculus has seen success with the lower-price, lower-powered Oculus Go, and 2019 will see the release of multiple new iterations on the hardware, including the tethered Rift S and the stand-alone Oculus Quest.

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.
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
Now I can start actually editing the timeline, put things to music, figure out transitions and where graphics will go. When I have a first cut of the timeline, I export sections at a time where motion graphics will be. Inside After Effects I can create a 3D camera using their “immersive” tools, convert all motion graphic to 3D layers and create the motion inside the immersive camera view. Viewing and editing on the flat, equirectangular format does little good to anyone. When motion graphics are done, I can export them and replace the original footage in the timeline with the newly exported motion graphic versions. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Powkiddy-Retro-Handheld-Game-Console-Player-16GB-3-inch-Portable-Mini-Video-Gaming-Player-3000-Games/32967827816.html
Visuals are delivered via an OLED display that offers 1,440 x 1,660 resolution per eye. There's also a built-in speaker with the option to plug in headphones for a more isolated experience. While the VR experience might be on par with those PC-powered headsets, it's still very good and a big step up from the Oculus Go. Games run nice and smooth, though the smartphone-like processing power does mean some titles can take slightly long to load up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYtGSt7a-s8&t=1s
Magic Leap has been an investor and media darling since 2014, when Google dumped $540 million in seed money into its sizable coffers. The company has been a source of much fascination and hand-wringing by industry observers ever since. Magic Leap fed the public appetite for information with a string of vaporware demos before finally unveiling the Magic Leap One in 2018. Instead of a magical breakthrough device, the Magic Leap One was more of an updated Hololens, which produced good (but not great) 3D imagery that mixed decently (but not spectacularly) with the real world. The Magic Leap One remains more of a developer tool in search of a consumer application — much like the Hololens. Despite all the doubts now surrounding the company and their technology, Magic Leap’s presence in the industry continues to challenge well-established brands, making them an unusual, but a noteworthy company.
In our hands-on time with the Odyssey, we felt it was the one Mixed Reality headset that's on the same level as Oculus Rift. It has a premium, comfortable feel that the other headsets, from the likes of Lenovo, Acer and HP don't have. For Windows Mixed Reality right now, Samsung holds the bar. With the arrival of the Odyssey+, Samsung has improved things further with double the pixel count than the first Odyssey and an Anti-SDE (Screen-Door Effect) Display, aimed at mitigating a condition that can lead to mild dizziness and nausea.
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.youtube.com/channel/UCT-LpxQVr4JlrC_mYwJGJ3Q

Despite being one of the big three in high-end VR, the PS VR is a noticeable step down from the Rift and Vive. It's got a 120Hz refresh rate, which is higher than the others, but it's not as crisp with its 1920 x 1080 resolution, which means things are a little more blurry. Plus, its PS Move controllers feel very long in the tooth; they're repurposed motion controllers from the days when the Nintendo Wii was popular, and feel very outdated when compared to the Rift's Touch controllers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl_JQq8PHyA&t=1s
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