Vive's Tracker might not look like much, but stick it on something and that "thing" becomes a controller. Yes, HTC is redefining how we think of mixed reality with this accessory, and now anyone can buy one. Developers have been busily finding exciting and unique ways to use the Tracker in games, which will require mounts for certain props, like guns and baseball bats.
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=pwJXDrBik4I&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.
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.aliexpress.com/item/FeiyuTech-Feiyu-360-degree-Gimbal-Automatic-Rotation-Stand-for-Smartphones-Mirrorless-Action-Cameras-All-1-4/32907763034.html
You already know how satisfying it is to watch a complex set of dominoes systematically collapse. That sound, that feeling of watching something crumble. But what if someone set up dominoes around you, and then you could watch them slowly fall around you? That's what this video is, and it may be one of the more satisfying uses of 360 photography yet. Bonus points for reversing the dominoes at the end. Alternatively, check out GoPro's video surrounding you with soda and Mentos explosions.
There's no wires here at all and no sensors to unlock the room scale tracking. Instead, you can draw out your VR space using the bundled Touch controllers, which are the same ones included with the Rift. The ability to draw multiple Guardians (as Oculus calls it) means you can freely move from different spaces and the headset will remember your safe VR territory.
In medicine, simulated VR surgical environments under the supervision of experts can provide effective and repeatable training at a low cost, allowing trainees to recognize and amend errors as they occur. Virtual reality has been used in physical rehabilitation since the 2000s. Despite numerous studies conducted, good quality evidence of its efficacy compared to other rehabilitation methods without sophisticated and expensive equipment is lacking for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. A 2018 review on the effectiveness of mirror therapy by virtual reality and robotics for any type of pathology concluded in a similar way. Another study was conducted that showed the potential for VR to promote mimicry and revealed the difference between neurotypical and autism spectrum disorder individuals in their response to a two-dimensional avatar. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32781787496.html
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
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. 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.
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=ORWsm8qMaZ4&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-Air-360-Degree-Dual-3K-lens-VR-Video-Camera-Real-Time-Seamless-Stitching-for-Android/32816542852.html
The trade-off, besides the clunky cables, is the price. The least expensive tethered options are currently around $400. And that's before you address the processing issue; the Rift S and the Vive both need pretty powerful PCs to run, while the PS VR requires a PlayStation 4. If the cost isn't a deal breaker but the cables are, HTC offers a wireless adapter for the Vive, but it requires a desktop PC with a free PCIe slot to work. There are also third-party wireless adapters for the Rift, but we can't guarantee how well they work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd0OKYKBEPc&t=1s
The trade-off, besides the clunky cables, is the price. The least expensive tethered options are currently around $400. And that's before you address the processing issue; the Rift S and the Vive both need pretty powerful PCs to run, while the PS VR requires a PlayStation 4. If the cost isn't a deal breaker but the cables are, HTC offers a wireless adapter for the Vive, but it requires a desktop PC with a free PCIe slot to work. There are also third-party wireless adapters for the Rift, but we can't guarantee how well they work. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1000-stickers-lot-38mm-diameter-handmade-Self-adhesive-kraft-paper-sealing-label-sticker-Item-No-TK26/32790505413.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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jXQNyqFj9I&t=1s
At some point the 2.0 Lighthouse sensors will arrive with a new curved design and support to add up to four at once (right now it's just two). Meanwhile, the Vive's Trackers enable you to bring any object into VR, and some developers have already found some creative uses for them. These, combined with the TPCast's wireless adapter, gives the Vive the advantage in the tech battle. However, if you wait a little while you can get your hands on the new Vive Pro Eye, which adds new eye-tracking technology (more on that further below). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTsLkUqDcz0&t=1s
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 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywfauCOzgoE&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.
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.
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.
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."
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=DO9U_XxN-Kc&t=1s
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
Virtual reality is the creation of a virtual environment presented to our senses in such a way that we experience it as if we were really there. It uses a host of technologies to achieve this goal and is a technically complex feat that has to account for our perception and cognition. It has both entertainment and serious uses. The technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread. We can expect to see many more innovative uses for the technology in the future and perhaps a fundamental way in which we communicate and work thanks to the possibilities of virtual reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R87vKcV0l4k&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: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCokPdW_udDtALG8Rd_u-hdg
However, because the Lighthouse sensors need good vantage points to track all your head and hand movements, it means mounting them up high. This makes setup for the Vive a bit convoluted compared to, say, the Rift or PSVR. For the Rift, you can just plop down the sensors on a desk, though to get the same 360 tracking you'll need to buy an extra sensor (the Touch bundle gets you two). However, when you get Lighthouse all ready the effect is next-level – enough to make using the PlayStation VR or Rift feel like a step back at times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwabP6B_UkE&t=1s
In 1992, Nicole Stenger created Angels, the first real-time interactive immersive movie where the interaction was facilitated with a dataglove and high-resolution goggles. That same year, Louis Rosenberg created the virtual fixtures system at the U.S. Air Force's Armstrong Labs using a full upper-body exoskeleton, enabling a physically realistic mixed reality in 3D. The system enabled the overlay of physically real 3D virtual objects registered with a user's direct view of the real world, producing the first true augmented reality experience enabling sight, sound, and touch. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LINGCHEN-Car-Phone-Holder-360-Rotation-Holder-for-Phone-in-Car-Air-Vent-Mount-Car-Holder/32862359004.html
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3uXVim4eTU&t=1s