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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.youtube.com/watch?v=iHBcWHY9lN4&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.aliexpress.com/item/Ugreen-Universal-car-phone-holder-air-vent-monut-GPS-stand-360-adjustable-mobile-phone-holder-for/32626150303.html
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.aliexpress.com/item/-/32793397293.html

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] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-ONE-X-Action-Camera-VR-360-Panoramic-Camera-For-iPhone-and-Android-5-7K-Video/32948051193.html

Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Mini-CCD-HD-Night-Vision-360-Degree-Car-Rear-View-Camera-Front-Camera-Front-View-Side/1539864047.html
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
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoWTqFtWlK0&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=Au5ro1NOnhI&t=1s

Google and Samsung still offer phone-based VR headsets in the form of the Daydream View and the Gear VR, and even Nintendo has gotten into the game with its Labo VR Kit for the Nintendo Switch. However, these shell-like headsets, which require a phone or some other device physically inserted into them, feel like novelties next to more powerful headsets that can provide more immersive experiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAzHtLXxQsM&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.youtube.com/watch?v=yVLfEHXQk08&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]

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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-ONE-X-360-Camera-panoramic-Camera-5-7K-Video-VR-360-For-iPhone-and-Android/32970842572.html
Virtual Reality is no longer a dream. It's here – in all its stunning, three-dimensional glory. Boasting powerful processing and lightning-fast graphics cards, our systems deliver breathtaking images and a virtual reality that's richly detailed incredibly lifelike. Best of all, our many of our VR gaming systems also give you the power work on files, surf the web, connect via social media and more – making them multi-functional devices that are designed for the way you live. Explore all of our VR systems, games and Xbox systems – and elevate your gaming experience. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32901276676.html
Although we talk about a few historical early forms of virtual reality elsewhere on the site, today virtual reality is usually implemented using computer technology. There are a range of systems that are used for this purpose, such as headsets, omni-directional treadmills and special gloves. These are used to actually stimulate our senses together in order to create the illusion of reality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnbS8L2m49g&t=1s
Wherever it is too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something in reality, virtual reality is the answer. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications trainee surgeons, virtual reality allows us to take virtual risks in order to gain real world experience. As the cost of virtual reality goes down and it becomes more mainstream you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications, to come to the fore. Virtual reality and its cousin augmented reality could substantively change the way we interface with our digital technologies. Continuing the trend of humanising our technology. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVQi3UNfKF0&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/watch?v=egdoabbfpcE&t=1s
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.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-Nano-360-Degree-Dual-3K-lens-VR-Video-Camera-Real-Time-Seamless-Stitching-for-iPhone/32819111754.html
Augmented reality (AR) is a type of virtual reality technology that blends what the user sees in their real surroundings with digital content generated by computer software. The additional software-generated images with the virtual scene typically enhance how the real surroundings look in some way. AR systems layer virtual information over a camera live feed into a headset or smartglasses or through a mobile device giving the user the ability to view three-dimensional images. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGmL_pj4g6c&t=1s

Microsoft HoloLens is shaping up to be another formidable competitor in the HMD market. Unlike VR tech, Microsoft based their display on holographic technology. The original Hololens was more proof of concept than consumer device, and the recently announced Hololens 2 is again eschewing the public in favor of enterprise/government uses. The Hololens 2 will feature upgraded visuals, including a much-expanded field of view — music to fans of the original device, who settled on the limited FOV as the main drawback of the device. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQpPbR32roo&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/channel/UCLMLTE5R-LR26VKfnaDQtEA


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.youtube.com/watch?v=jvCKXADeW34&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.
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoWTqFtWlK0&t=1s

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.youtube.com/watch?v=iHBcWHY9lN4&t=1s
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.youtube.com/watch?v=jvCKXADeW34&t=1s
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