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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.aliexpress.com/item/Global-PROTRULY-V10S-Smartphone-360-Degree-26MP-3D-VR-Full-View-Android-7-1-Snapdrago
A head-mounted display (HMD) more fully immerses the user in a virtual world. A virtual reality headset typically includes two small high resolution OLED or LCD monitors which provide separate images for each eye for stereoscopic graphics rendering a 3D virtual world, a binaural audio system, positional and rotational real-time head tracking for six degrees of movement. Options include motion controls with haptic feedback for physically interacting within the virtual world in a intuitive way with little to no abstraction and an omnidirectional treadmill for more freedom of physical movement allowing the user to perform locomotive motion in any direction. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/AliBlissWig-360-Short-Bob-Wig-Human-Hair-150-Density-Swiss-Lace-Brazilian-Remy-Medium-Cap-Natural/32866086695.html
The two images are then stitched together on the computer just after import. The stitched image (looks like the thumbnail for the above video) is called “equirectangular” format and looks like all 360° got compressed into a single 16:9 frame. Viewers and websites such as YouTube and Vimeo can detect this kind of footage in the file metadata and display it in VR form.

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=xYemnKEKx0c&t=1s
But the competition is closer than ever. Vive is also excellent (and still offers the best room scale), while the Sony PlayStation VR is a big seller thanks to its significantly lower price and the ubiquity of PlayStation 4 consoles ready to run it. There are now better standalone VR headsets too if you want a hassle-free route to the immersive realms. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cover-Mobile-Phone-Case-For-Coolpad-Note-5-Lite-5-0-inch-Frosted-Matte-Design-Hard/32826926530.html
The Vive Pro sports a 2,880 x 1,600 resolution on a dual-OLED display, up from the Vive's 2,160 x 1,200 resolution. There's also dual cameras on the front that'll help track your hands and a 90Hz refresh rate with 70 sensors, giving you 360-degree head-tracking. It's not a leap to say that the Vive Pro is a monster. This is easily the most advanced VR headset out there, but it's also incredibly expensive, sitting at £799. If you don't need that added clarity, the Vive has all the same tricks.
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 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=-bzzzo2XhuE&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
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.
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
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOVuCx_p9ZI&t=1s
If you have compatible phones, these headsets offer functional 3DOF VR experiences for just $60 to $130. You slide your phone into one, put it on your head, and start tapping away with the included remote. It's interesting, but underwhelming next to tethered and 6DOF standalone VR experiences. Perhaps we'll see some 6DOF updates, but we aren't counting on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkl-8pxN7MU&t=1s

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]


Samsung’s approach to VR was different right from the beginning, and the Gear VR was an impressive piece of tech when it was first released in November of 2015. The Gear VR was a far more common sight than an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive in 2016 and 2017, largely because Samsung often gave the device away free with the purchase of a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Samsung’s VR HMD delivers a stripped-down VR experience, using Oculus head-tracking technology in combination with Android smartphones to power mobile VR experiences. Instead of dedicated display technology, lenses allow the phone’s screen to act as a stereoscopic display, making the device simpler and less expensive than other options. Samsung has added hand controllers to the Gear VR experience, bringing it more in line with current VR content. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNilPKyFlQI&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.
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/watch?v=hQ_pWAU7wg4&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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEFPqEVlKEk&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.youtube.com/watch?v=8rdY6_AZWXk&t=1s
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=8COaMKbNrX0&t=1s
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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4K-360-Action-Camera-Wifi-Mini-Panoramic-Camera-2448-2448-Ultra-HD-Panorama-Camera-360-Degree/32698512640.html
^ 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.
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.
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

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.aliexpress.com/item/New-14-Joint-360-Degree-Rotation-Resin-Nude-Naked-Female-Body-For-Bar-bie-Doll/32884974971.html
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

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

But the competition is closer than ever. Vive is also excellent (and still offers the best room scale), while the Sony PlayStation VR is a big seller thanks to its significantly lower price and the ubiquity of PlayStation 4 consoles ready to run it. There are now better standalone VR headsets too if you want a hassle-free route to the immersive realms. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cover-Mobile-Phone-Case-For-Coolpad-Note-5-Lite-5-0-inch-Frosted-Matte-Design-Hard/32826926530.html
According to CEO Stanislas Chesnais, the 3DRudder was designed for "existing games where two hands aren't enough [for] VR, where you don't actually have any solutions today to move in a nice way while sitting." A circular device that you control with both feet by tilting in the direction you want to move, the 3DRudder's latency-free design means that response to your movements is instant and requires little thought. "It's like in real life," says Chesnais. "When you do something [like] set the table… you don't think about your feet moving around. Your hands are what matter." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD4XfM2TZ2k&t=1s
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