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
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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-EVO-5-7K-Video-VR-Panoramic-360-3D-Camera-for-Android-and-iPhone-HoloFrame-3D/32988584687.html
As of the end of 2018, the three best selling Virtual Reality headsets were Sony’s PlayStation VR (PSVR), Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. This was not a surprise, seeing as the same three HMDs had also been best sellers in 2017. 2019 sees the VR landscape broadening with Google, HP, Lenovo, and others looking to grab a piece of the still-burgeoning market. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq3tOi9IwaQ&t=1s
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:
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.
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
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=5jc-5tBEPUE&t=1s
If the last applies to you, you're likely a computer scientist or engineer, many of whom now avoid the words virtual reality even while they work on technologies most of us associate with VR. Today, you're more likely to hear someone use the words virtual environment (VE) to refer to what the public knows as virtual reality. We'll use the terms interchangeably in this article. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/35mm-Merry-Christmas-baking-biscuit-decoration-stickers-four-styles-labels-360-pcs-lot-Item-No-FE28/32834810215.html
Alright, I’m going to walk you through my specific process, although some people may do things in a slightly different order. Let’s jump back to the import. The camera I used records to 2 separate Micro SD cards, so I have to import both. In the “Ingested Footage” folder for that day’s shoot, I put a folder for one card, “Front” and one card, “Back”. Then I use the stitching software and export final stitches for every clip to a third folder I call “Stitched”. Then I dropped each of those stitched files into Adobe After Effects and mask myself, other, gear, and tripod out of the shot. This way I have clean video with only the model in it. I export these as individual files as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzc7oZVIwfc&t=1s
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. 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsC9ZHi79jo&t=1s
The NBA has long been interested in virtual reality and 360 filmmaking, so it's no surprise that it would decide to take one of the most exciting events on All Star Weekend, the Dunk Contest, and turn it into a 360 video. In this case, you'll get to see all the dunks of winner Donovan Mitchell. Sit courtside as this mountain of a man charges to the hoop and seemingly defies the laws of physics.
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
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
No conversation about Mixed Reality HMDs is ever complete until someone brings up Apple. Yes, the company has no available or announced devices in this space — but there isn’t a soul following technology trends that doesn’t believe the Cupertino giant isn’t a) working on some kind of AR glasses, b) acquiring companies that make lenses and materials that are perfect for some kind of AR glasses, and c) talking about AR as a transformational technology every time a microphone appears. The rumor mill says Apple’s glasses could appear in 2019, but we have our money on a 2020 launch, alongside a newly redesigned and reimagined iPhone that moves away from the “iPhone X design” for the first time since it launched. Stay tuned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vluoggq_3WU&t=1s
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.youtube.com/watch?v=tkIg-SxPzTA&t=1s
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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/OHCOMICS-Harri-Potter-HP-Harry-HP-Hogwarts-Gryffindor-360-Degrees-Square-Ring-Stand-Mount-Holder-Mobile/32930948974.html
Alright, I’m going to walk you through my specific process, although some people may do things in a slightly different order. Let’s jump back to the import. The camera I used records to 2 separate Micro SD cards, so I have to import both. In the “Ingested Footage” folder for that day’s shoot, I put a folder for one card, “Front” and one card, “Back”. Then I use the stitching software and export final stitches for every clip to a third folder I call “Stitched”. Then I dropped each of those stitched files into Adobe After Effects and mask myself, other, gear, and tripod out of the shot. This way I have clean video with only the model in it. I export these as individual files as well.
The Fove setup is an 5.7-inch, 1440p display; a 100+ degree field of view; 70fps frame rate; and eye-tracking measured at 120fps. With the redesigned developer kit, gone are the big side panels and quite a lot of the heft of the last prototype design. The company promises the new model offers "dramatically reduced weight, size and overall wearability, as well as better production efficiency." You might have to wait a bit though – Fove hasn't confirmed plans for the consumer version just yet.
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
Speaking of medicine, the treatment of mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, stands to benefit from the application of Virtual Reality technology to ongoing therapy programs. Whether it’s allowing veterans to confront challenges in a controlled environment, or overcoming phobias in combination with behavioral therapy, VR has a potential beyond gaming, industrial and marketing applications to help people heal from, reconcile and understand real-world experiences. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-stickers-lot-hand-made-thank-you-self-adhesive-paper-label-sticker-Item-No-TK44/32791784641.html
In 1938, French avant-garde playwright Antonin Artaud described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as "la réalité virtuelle" in a collection of essays, Le Théâtre et son double. The English translation of this book, published in 1958 as The Theater and its Double, is the earliest published use of the term "virtual reality". The term "artificial reality", coined by Myron Krueger, has been in use since the 1970s. The term "virtual reality" was first used in a science fiction context in The Judas Mandala, a 1982 novel by Damien Broderick. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/INQMEGA-HD-960P-IP-VR-Camera-Home-Security-WiFi-FishEye-360-degree-Panoramic-camera-Baby-Monitor/32819129301.html
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.
Tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift S, the HTC Vive, and the PlayStation VR are physically connected to PCs (or in the case of the PS VR, a PlayStation 4). The cable makes them a bit unwieldy, but putting all of the actual video processing in a box you don't need to directly strap to your face means your VR experience can be a lot more complex. The use of a dedicated display in the headset instead of your smartphone drastically improves image fidelity, and either external sensors or outward-facing cameras on the headset provide full 6DOF movement tracking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXlnrFpCu0c&t=1s
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
Virtual reality (VR) is an experience taking place within simulated and immersive environments that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment (i.e. gaming) and educational purposes (i.e. medical or military training). Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SVPRO-new-design-3d-video-camera-virtual-reality-dual-hd-android-smart-phone-mobile-phone-camera/32764347423.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.aliexpress.com/item/Sovawin-VR-360-Degree-Camera-4K-Wifi-Video-Mini-Panoramic-2448-2448-HD-Panorama-Action-Waterproof/32791476785.html
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.
In 2013, Valve Corporation discovered and freely shared the breakthrough of low-persistence displays which make lag-free and smear-free display of VR content possible. This was adopted by Oculus and was used in all their future headsets. In early 2014, Valve showed off their SteamSight prototype, the precursor to both consumer headsets released in 2016. It shared major features with the consumer headsets including separate 1K displays per eye, low persistence, positional tracking over a large area, and fresnel lenses. HTC and Valve announced the virtual reality headset HTC Vive and controllers in 2015. The set included tracking technology called Lighthouse, which utilized wall-mounted "base stations" for positional tracking using infrared light. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIC7W8VYOdY&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.youtube.com/watch?v=eBO_C_WY41M&t=1s
^ 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.
Although much more time and data intensive, I do foresee 360° and VR as being a growing trend of the future. I think the tools and software will continue to improve and the real world applications will start to become more obvious (i.e. behind-the-scenes where you could actually see everything, car cams so that every angle was captured, real estate videos, etc). I’m excited to continue learning about it and continue shooting on my 360° camera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYJgTFkCNYU&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=5szCIv22-qE&t=1s