Setup for the PS VR is relatively simple compared to the Vive and Rift – the majority of the work is just plugging wires into the right ports. The PS VR, like the Vive, uses a halfway box where all the wires go. There's also just one sensor here to worry about, largely because most of the PS VR experiences are meant for sitting or standing in one position.
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. 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". 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. The first references to the more modern concept of virtual reality came from science fiction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU8oSjtZlx4&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.youtube.com/watch?v=sZvGJjeLUlg&t=1s
You can float down the Colorado River inside the Grand Canyon in this immersive VR adventure. Start off in calm waters and quickly get blasted in the rough whitewater rapids of the Hance, Granite, and Hermit. If you've always wanted to try an adventure on the rapids, but are a bit scared, this video will give you a sense of what it's like without the wet side effects. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFPBJlJurQ8&t=1s
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.
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.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degree-Universal-Car-Phone-Holder-Magnetic-Air-Vent-Mount-Cell-Phone-Car-Mobile-Phone-Holder/32689033913.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.youtube.com/watch?v=4pJ8w3EdXEA&t=1s
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/channel/UCt2-_WqSJnmt6lXNGA8RiPg
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.youtube.com/watch?v=1udaCG1JiWU&t=1s
The more powerful Vive Pro offers a higher-resolution display, outward-facing cameras, and a handful of other enhanced features, but it isn't nearly as compelling as the regular Vive; it costs $300 more, and doesn't include the base stations and motion controllers needed to work, so you effectively need to already have a Vive or spend even more money to get set up with it. If that isn't enough power, the Vive Pro Eye adds built-in eye-tracking to the already advanced headset. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Insta360-ONE-360-Camera-Sport-Action-Video-Camera-VR-Panoramic-Camera-24MP-7K-Photos-4K-Videos/32878260145.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/watch?v=5Ucy2-Eh-Ns&t=1s
The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jobzDDtr1sI&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
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=JsuyAIANYnw&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/watch?v=gPUDZPWhiiE&t=1s
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIxQXGTl_mo&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.
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
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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Suntrsi-USB-Flash-Drive-64GB-Metal-Steel-Pen-Drive-High-Speed-Pendrive-Key-Chain-USB-Stick/32398155049.html
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=MmCYZZwO3hg&t=1s
In social sciences and psychology, virtual reality offers a cost-effective tool to study and replicate interactions in a controlled environment. It can be used as a form of therapeutic intervention. For instance, there is the case of the virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET), a form of exposure therapy for treating anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_nGLw1ceV8&t=1s
Oculus has both tethered and standalone headsets from the Go, to the Quest, to the Rift S. HTC has the Steam-friendly Vive and the developer-focused Vive Pro. Sony has the PS 4-focused PlayStation VR (that will apparently work with the PlayStation 5 if and when that system comes out), and Microsoft is supporting its Windows Mixed Reality platform with a variety of headsets from different manufacturers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwENYk66q6M&t=1s
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.
The Oculus Go is the least expensive way to jump into virtual reality. At $200 it's pricier than mobile VR headsets, but unlike those headsets, you don't need a compatible (and usually expensive flagship) smartphone to use it. The $200 investment gets you right into a Gear VR-like virtual reality experience, complete with an intuitive controller. It makes some compromises for the price, like using a dated Snapdragon 821 processor and offering only 3DOF motion tracking, but it's still enough to try out Netflix on a virtual theater screen or play Settlers of Catan in VR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOaG-ICXq0k&t=1s
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.aliexpress.com/item/ANNKE-Home-Security-IP-Camera-Wireless-Mini-IP-Camera-Surveillance-Camera-Wifi-720P-Night-Vision-CCTV/32709260309.html
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.
Daydream comes with a 3DoF (degrees of freedom) controller and supports most smartphones, but the quality of VR will vary depending on the phone you're slotting in there. While the quality of games can't compete with the big names, the Daydream platform has consolidated over the past year with a respectable lineup – including Wareable favourite Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes.
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.
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/watch?v=L_pBs1qUhvw&t=1s