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
VR can simulate real workspaces for workplace occupational safety and health purposes, educational purposes, and training purposes. It can be used to provide learners with a virtual environment where they can develop their skills without the real-world consequences of failing. It has been used and studied in primary education, military, astronaut training, flight simulators, miner training, architectural design, driver training and bridge inspection. Immersive VR engineering systems enable engineers to see virtual prototypes prior to the availability of any physical prototypes. Supplementing training with virtual training environments has been claimed to offer avenues of realism in military and healthcare training while minimizing cost. It also has been claimed to reduce military training costs by minimizing the amounts of ammunition expended during training periods.
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): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEIg0xceJE4&t=1s
This is more difficult than it sounds, since our senses and brains are evolved to provide us with a finely synchronised and mediated experience. If anything is even a little off we can usually tell. This is where you’ll hear terms such as immersiveness and realism enter the conversation. These issues that divide convincing or enjoyable virtual reality experiences from jarring or unpleasant ones are partly technical and partly conceptual. Virtual reality technology needs to take our physiology into account. For example, the human visual field does not look like a video frame. We have (more or less) 180 degrees of vision and although you are not always consciously aware of your peripheral vision, if it were gone you’d notice. Similarly when what your eyes and the vestibular system in your ears tell you are in conflict it can cause motion sickness. Which is what happens to some people on boats or when they read while in a car.
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). https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Presale-Insta360-ONE-4K-360-VR-Video-Action-Camera-Sport-Camera-24MP-Bullet-Time-6-Axis/32831111466.html
It's not without issues though. We've already discussed VR exercise equipment as a promising concept let down by being such an expensive, bulky and sweaty process. But if you really want to "get in" the game, and you have space, hopping into an Omni could be pretty neat. We've tried it since its early days at CES and it's been able to stick it out through the years, improving the base, harness and shoes to ensure the best possible experience.
To fully experience PC games and other software in 3D, you'll need a player or computer that is capable of delivering high-quality graphics to a virtual reality headset. This requires a player or computer with a powerful graphics card and processor. It's also recommended that your computer have at least 8GB of RAM in order to download VR content. The number of VR-ready PCs continues to grow, so you'll have a variety of options to choose from in order to enjoy smooth gameplay, even when running graphics-heavy games. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6NkTCJimTbM1KKCHkpL4uw
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.youtube.com/watch?v=OR_Y7vj66PU&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.aliexpress.com/item/4K-Resolution-Lens-1-21mm-Fisheye-Lens-220-Degree-IR-1-2-3-Inch-16MP-M12/32837407907.html
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.aliexpress.com/item/Global-PROTRULY-V10S-Smartphone-360-Degree-26MP-3D-VR-Full-View-Android-7-1-Snapdrago
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.youtube.com/channel/UCYoKN0FOSrHo1qf4ZqlM2CA
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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Style-Camera-360-4k-360-degree-Panoramic-VR-Camera-Build-in-WiFi-Mini-Sports-Action/32702459981.html
After doing this over and over, revision after revision, eventually I have a final draft to export. In the export window, it is important that I ensure the “VR” is still enabled. What this does is put that specification in the metadata file so that sites like YouTube and Vimeo know to play it as 360° VR footage. Then I can upload it and ensure the playback is the way I want it. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Panoramic-360-VR-1080P-HD-IP-Mini-Human-Body-Camera-Smart-LED-Lights-Cam-Starlight-IR/32958531508.html
In 1991, Sega announced the Sega VR headset for arcade games and the Mega Drive console. It used LCD screens in the visor, stereo headphones, and inertial sensors that allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user's head. In the same year, Virtuality launched and went on to become the first mass-produced, networked, multiplayer VR entertainment system that was released in many countries, including a dedicated VR arcade at Embarcadero Center. Costing up to $73,000 per multi-pod Virtuality system, they featured headsets and exoskeleton gloves that gave one of the first "immersive" VR experiences. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA0McsiXWJZu11MsiDdXvlw
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=coKs3KnIcao&t=1s
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
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.
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/AMK100S-360-Degree-Video-Camera-All-View-1440P-30FPS-HD-WiFi-Sport-Camera-Sweep-Panoramic-Camera/32689963090.html
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=DA91OBKEK4M&t=1s
Virtual reality, or VR, is a technology that lets you figuratively step inside a computer-generated 3D world. You can explore and sometimes even manipulate objects in that world. Imagine virtually stepping inside a video game, where the game world feels as real as the non-game world. In fact, video games are one of the most exciting and engaging ways to enjoy VR today.
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=41RWJgIjlTA&t=1s
These are 360 degree panoramic images captured using rotational cameras with ultra wide-angle lenses. Our award winning 360VR images are full 360 degree spherical panoramic images used in building photographic "Virtual Reality" style virtual tours. You can interactively "be there and look around" with the full realism that expert digital photography can capture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO4DV5KZClk&t=1s
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=nORNftIHSAo&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
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=GwavYvtumKA&t=1s