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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/AUKEY-360-Degree-Universal-Car-Holder-Magnetic-Air-Vent-Mount-Smartphone-Dock-Mobile-Phone-Holder-for/32580819279.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long in the tooth; they're repurposed motion controllers from the days when the Nintendo Wii was popular, and feel very outdated when compared to the Rift's Touch controllers.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=Gl_JQq8PHyA&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

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.aliexpress.com/item/MISECU-5-0MP-3-0MP-1-3MP-360-degree-VR-Audio-128GB-slot-Wireless-IP-Camera/32830686032.html
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.aliexpress.com/item/Drifter-For-Insta360-ONE-X/32947447669.html

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).[citation needed] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Presale-Insta360-ONE-4K-360-VR-Video-Action-Camera-Sport-Camera-24MP-Bullet-Time-6-Axis/32831111466.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.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwQPJmg-Kg&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-Nano-360-Degree-Panoramic-Camera-3K-HD-Mini-VR-Camera-210-Degree-Dual-Wide-Angle/32697639175.html
In 2014, Sony announced Project Morpheus (its code name for the PlayStation VR), a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 video game console.[37] In 2015, Google announced Cardboard, a do-it-yourself stereoscopic viewer: the user places their smartphone in the cardboard holder, which they wear on their head. Michael Naimark was appointed Google's first-ever 'resident artist' in their new VR division. The Kickstarter campaign for Gloveone, a pair of gloves providing motion tracking and haptic feedback, was successfully funded, with over $150,000 in contributions.[38] Also in 2015, Razer unveiled its open source project OSVR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lv3bUU4k_w&t=1s
Microsoft has been promoting its partnership with multiple headset manufacturers to produce a series of Windows 10-ready "mixed reality" headsets. The distinction between virtual reality and mixed reality is so far dubious, but it indicates an integration of augmented reality (AR) technology using cameras on the helmet. Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung are some of Microsoft's partners in this mixed reality program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrEmwQO4sKs&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.[39]
In 1979, Eric Howlett developed the Large Expanse, Extra Perspective (LEEP) optical system. The combined system created a stereoscopic image with a field of view wide enough to create a convincing sense of space. The users of the system have been impressed by the sensation of depth (field of view) in the scene and the corresponding realism. The original LEEP system was redesigned for NASA's Ames Research Center in 1985 for their first virtual reality installation, the VIEW (Virtual Interactive Environment Workstation) by Scott Fisher. The LEEP system provides the basis for most of the modern virtual reality headsets.[9]

Virtual Reality is a fascinating way to travel using nothing more than the power of technology. With a headset and motion tracking, VR lets you look around a virtual space as if you're actually there. It's also been a promising technology for decades that's never truly caught on. That's constantly changing with the current wave of VR products, especially as the biggest names in the industry are starting to really hone and tweak their headsets. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/FW1S-USB-2-0-Webcam-12-0-Mega-Pixel-HD-Camera-Webcam-360-Degree-MIC-Clip/32659656232.html
Desktop-based virtual reality involves displaying a 3D virtual world on a regular desktop display without use of any specialized positional tracking equipment. Many modern first-person video games can be used as an example, using various triggers, responsive characters, and other such interactive devices to make the user feel as though they are in a virtual world. A common criticism of this form of immersion is that there is no sense of peripheral vision, limiting the user's ability to know what is happening around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ6a-pCgDH0&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

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


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=FMBlFiFeugo&t=1s
Currently standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LED-Display-Smart-Home-Water-Shower-Thermometer-Flow-Self-Generating-Electricity-Water-Temperture-Meter-Monitor-for/32854362335.html
VR headsets may regularly cause eye fatigue, as does all screened technology, because people tend to blink less when watching screens, causing their eyes to become more dried out.[80] There have been some concerns about VR headsets contributing to myopia, but although VR headsets sit close to the eyes, they may not necessarily contribute to nearsightedness if the focal length of the image being displayed is sufficiently far away.[81] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degrees-Car-Speed-Laser-Radar/32925663509.html
By the 1980s, the term "virtual reality" was popularized by Jaron Lanier, one of the modern pioneers of the field. Lanier had founded the company VPL Research in 1985. VPL Research has developed several VR devices like the DataGlove, the EyePhone, and the AudioSphere. VPL licensed the DataGlove technology to Mattel, which used it to make the Power Glove, an early affordable VR device. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg29RvYNSDQ&t=1s
It really is that simple. You do need the companion app on your phone first, which will make you log in. You'll also have to grant location access and pair the Go to your Wi-Fi. Once you've done that, and inserted and paired your controller, you're all good to go. There will be a little video that tells you a bit about safety, but that's it. That's how simple it is to set up.

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.[53] 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.[54] A 2018 review on the effectiveness of mirror therapy by virtual reality and robotics for any type of pathology concluded in a similar way.[55] 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.[56] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32781787496.html


Nintendo's Labo series of games/arts-and-crafts sets for the Nintendo Switch have interested us since the first Labo Variety Kit came out. You build your own controllers with cardboard and play games using the Switch and motion-sensing Joy-Con controllers. Now Nintendo has returned to VR (a field it hasn't set foot in since the ill-fated Virtual Boy) with its fourth Labo package, the Labo VR Kit.
There are many health and safety considerations of virtual reality. A number of unwanted symptoms have been caused by prolonged use of virtual reality,[77] and these may have slowed proliferation of the technology. Most virtual reality systems come with consumer warnings, including: seizures; developmental issues in children; trip-and-fall and collision warnings; discomfort; repetitive stress injury; and interference with medical devices.[78] Some users may experience twitches, seizures or blackouts while using VR headsets, even if they do not have a history of epilepsy and have never had blackouts or seizures before. As many as one in 4,000 people may experience these symptoms. Since these symptoms are more common among people under the age of 20, children are advised against using VR headsets. Other problems may occur in physical interactions with one's environment. While wearing VR headsets, people quickly lose awareness of their real-world surroundings and may injure themselves by tripping over, or colliding with real-world objects.[79] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRR1KT82fcU&t=1s
The exact origins of virtual reality are disputed, partly because of how difficult it has been to formulate a definition for the concept of an alternative existence.[4] The development of perspective in Renaissance Europe created convincing depictions of spaces that did not exist, in what has been referred to as the "multiplying of artificial worlds".[5] Other elements of virtual reality appeared as early as the 1860s. Antonin Artaud took the view that illusion was not distinct from reality, advocating that spectators at a play should suspend disbelief and regard the drama on stage as reality.[2] The first references to the more modern concept of virtual reality came from science fiction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU8oSjtZlx4&t=1s

Bottom line, if you're looking for a VR experience that's closer to the Rift and the Vive without the big price tag and the setup, this is the one you want. The room tracking is fantastic, the controllers are the best we've used and while it won't play all of the top end Rift games, there's a good collection of games and experiences to try out already that will hopefully grow over the coming months.


The PlayStation VR is compelling thanks to Sony backing development for it and the affordability and availability of the PlayStation 4 compared with gaming PCs. All you need is the headset, a PlayStation 4, and a PlayStation Camera (now included with most PlayStation VR bundles). There are some excellent games on PS VR like Moss, Rez Infinite, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, with Sony and other developers working on several more (including Five Nights at Freddy's VR).
Virtual Reality’s most immediately-recognizable component is the head-mounted display (HMD). Human beings are visual creatures, and display technology is often the single biggest difference between immersive Virtual Reality systems and traditional user interfaces. For instance, CAVE automatic virtual environments actively display virtual content onto room-sized screens. While they are fun for people in universities and big labs, consumer and industrial wearables are the wild west.
Virtual Reality is a fascinating way to travel using nothing more than the power of technology. With a headset and motion tracking, VR lets you look around a virtual space as if you're actually there. It's also been a promising technology for decades that's never truly caught on. That's constantly changing with the current wave of VR products, especially as the biggest names in the industry are starting to really hone and tweak their headsets. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/FW1S-USB-2-0-Webcam-12-0-Mega-Pixel-HD-Camera-Webcam-360-Degree-MIC-Clip/32659656232.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."[6] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Global-PROTRULY-V10S-Smartphone-360-Degree-26MP-3D-VR-Full-View-Android-7-1-Snapdrago
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.
Currently standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LED-Display-Smart-Home-Water-Shower-Thermometer-Flow-Self-Generating-Electricity-Water-Temperture-Meter-Monitor-for/32854362335.html
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.[31] 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.[32][33] 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.[34][35][36] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pre-order-Insta360-Nano-360-Degree-Panoramic-Camera-3K-HD-VR-Camera/32709297694.html
In 2014, Sony announced Project Morpheus (its code name for the PlayStation VR), a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 video game console.[37] In 2015, Google announced Cardboard, a do-it-yourself stereoscopic viewer: the user places their smartphone in the cardboard holder, which they wear on their head. Michael Naimark was appointed Google's first-ever 'resident artist' in their new VR division. The Kickstarter campaign for Gloveone, a pair of gloves providing motion tracking and haptic feedback, was successfully funded, with over $150,000 in contributions.[38] Also in 2015, Razer unveiled its open source project OSVR.
The Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML), first introduced in 1994, was intended for the development of "virtual worlds" without dependency on headsets.[43] The Web3D consortium was subsequently founded in 1997 for the development of industry standards for web-based 3D graphics. The consortium subsequently developed X3D from the VRML framework as an archival, open-source standard for web-based distribution of VR content.[44] WebVR is an experimental JavaScript application programming interface (API) that provides support for various virtual reality devices, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard or OSVR, in a web browser.[45] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gt4lhlfqjc&t=1s
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=hXnw8gjbk5I&t=1s

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).[citation needed] https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Presale-Insta360-ONE-4K-360-VR-Video-Action-Camera-Sport-Camera-24MP-Bullet-Time-6-Axis/32831111466.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.youtube.com/watch?v=ouqtjetglwI&t=1s
Leap Motion has been around for a while but now it's got a new lease of life as a VR peripheral compatible with both the Rift and HTC Vive. It attaches with an add-on mounted to the front of the headset and adds hand gesture controls to your virtual reality gaming. It's super precise, tracking each finger – the question is, how precise are your dumb human hands? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcVv9R1ZR84&t=1s
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/YI-HALO-VR-Camera-3D-360-camera-5GHz-Wi-Fi-2-2-Inch-LCD-Touch-Screen/32835202184.html
Leap Motion has been around for a while but now it's got a new lease of life as a VR peripheral compatible with both the Rift and HTC Vive. It attaches with an add-on mounted to the front of the headset and adds hand gesture controls to your virtual reality gaming. It's super precise, tracking each finger – the question is, how precise are your dumb human hands? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEi6u2lAYHg&t=1s

Answering “what is virtual reality” in technical terms is straight-forward. Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU6i_HEKJgg&t=1s


Multi-Functional Systems: Many of our Virtual Reality PCs do more than let you play the latest games. They let you work productively, use state-of-the-art software and connect with friends, family, and other gamers in a myriad of ways. With the ability to use your VR system for all that you do, it's the ultimate technology for your workday and your downtime.
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

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

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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