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.youtube.com/watch?v=LS_-ZMcGnow&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=gFiZ7cZcuQo&t=1s
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. 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. 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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pre-order-Insta360-Nano-360-Degree-Panoramic-Camera-3K-HD-VR-Camera/32709297694.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.youtube.com/channel/UCYoKN0FOSrHo1qf4ZqlM2CA
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.
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.
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.youtube.com/watch?v=4uCBhzulVec&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/Insta360-Nano-S-4K-360-VR-Video-Panoramic-Camera-20MP-photos-for-iphone/32965833937.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=IAyWOgcnJTY&t=1s
The Lenovo Mirage Solo is the Google Daydream version of the Oculus Quest, but it doesn't quite hit the mark. It has the same Snapdragon 835 processor and outward-facing cameras for 6DOF position tracking for the headset itself, but it includes only a single 3DOF motion controller, which severely limits its capabilities. It feels like a half-step between the Go and the Quest, using Google's Daydream platform instead of Oculus, and simply isn't as compelling as the other standalone headsets because of it.
To a degree, I’ve made it sound harder than it actually is since software has compensated for much of this, but these were some of the questions I was asking when I was first learning. I then started learning that some standard editing procedures could still be done. For example, I can still create image masks in 360°. So in truth, I still stood behind the camera the whole time along with others and gear and then masked myself out with a separate cut of footage showing the empty room. And for the motion graphics, (I use Adobe software) the software has built-in accommodations for editing and viewing in the 3D space so as to create accurate graphics. So in truth, once I learned, it wasn’t that hard, but boy is it time-consuming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNbxXSOsmKs&t=1s
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
In projector-based virtual reality, modeling of the real environment plays a vital role in various virtual reality applications, such as robot navigation, construction modeling, and airplane simulation. Image-based virtual reality system has been gaining popularity in computer graphics and computer vision communities. In generating realistic models, it is essential to accurately register acquired 3D data; usually, camera is used for modeling small objects at a short distance. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/MYKPOP-BTS-Mobile-Phone-Holder-BT21-Holloween-360-Degree-Rotate-Desk-Holder-for-all-Smart/32952202244.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." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wczdECcwRw0&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.
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=Ziw7dV6TfVg&t=1s
In 2016, HTC shipped its first units of the HTC Vive SteamVR headset. This marked the first major commercial release of sensor-based tracking, allowing for free movement of users within a defined space. A patent filed by Sony in 2017 showed they were developing a similar location tracking technology to the Vive for PlayStation VR, with the potential for the development of a wireless headset.
The big upside to Oculus is that its ecosystem is pretty robust. There are over 1,000 apps and games available to you for the Go. Now you're not going to get some of the more high-end experiences, like Robo Recall, but you're not going to be hurting for content. Oculus' home screen is also probably the best in VR, even on the standalone Go. Finally, you're going to get about 1.5 hours of battery life if you're gaming and 2.5 hours if you're watching videos. The basic version comes with 32GB of storage, you camp bump up to 64GB of storage for a cool £50 more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-o5HhGK-EY&t=1s
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." https://www.aliexpress.com/item/CUBE-360-Mini-Sports-Action-Camera-360-degree-Panoramic-VR-Camera-720P-360x-190-Build-in/32733302083.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.
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/Insta360-ONE-X-Sports-Action-Camera-5-7K-Video-VR-360-For-iPhone-and-Android/32944157625.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.youtube.com/watch?v=PDkC1eebWbU&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.
Beyond video games, there are several other exciting ways to experience VR. College students can use VR technology to learn complex, dangerous tasks — like piloting an airplane or performing surgery — in a safe environment. Architects and engineers can incorporate VR technology to see their works rendered in 3D before a single brick is laid or a screw is turned. Real estate agents can give virtual tours of buildings for sale, even if the potential buyer is hundreds of miles away, using VR technology.
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
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
One of the cool things about VR and 360 video is that it can put you in an experience you wouldn't be able to get before. In the case of this video from MythBusters, that's a couple yards away from a postal van filled with explosives. Not only do you get to experience the explosion from the safety of your own home, the video guides you through the explosion frame by frame, millisecond by millisecond. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpko_-a4wgz2u_DgDgd9fqA
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
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X6XAbRfk6c&t=1s
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=A6Dkt7zyImk&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.
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=ChMM4ndknKI&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=FNq-8bWfAwQ&t=1s
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. 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. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/360-Degrees-Car-Speed-Laser-Radar/32925663509.html
The emphasis here is future, as in several years away. That brings us to the second biggest reason the HoloLens and Magic Leap One aren't on this list: They aren't consumer products. Both devices are purely intended as development hardware, so AR software can be made for their platforms. Even the just-announced HoloLens 2, the second iteration of Microsoft's AR headset, is aimed specifically at developers and enterprise users rather than consumers.
In 1991, Sega announced the Sega VR headset for arcade games and the Mega Drive console. It used LCD screens in the visor, stereo headphones, and inertial sensors that allowed the system to track and react to the movements of the user's head. In the same year, Virtuality launched and went on to become the first mass-produced, networked, multiplayer VR entertainment system that was released in many countries, including a dedicated VR arcade at Embarcadero Center. Costing up to $73,000 per multi-pod Virtuality system, they featured headsets and exoskeleton gloves that gave one of the first "immersive" VR experiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dgXZ0wNuqw&t=1s
Independent production of VR images and video has increased by the development of omnidirectional cameras, also known as 360-degree cameras or VR cameras, that have the ability to record 360 interactive photography, although at low-resolutions or in highly-compressed formats for online streaming of 360 video. In contrast, photogrammetry is increasingly used to combine several high-resolution photographs for the creation of detailed 3D objects and environments in VR applications. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azRl1dI-Cts&t=1s
Virtual reality, or VR, is a technology that lets you figuratively step inside a computer-generated 3D world. You can explore and sometimes even manipulate objects in that world. Imagine virtually stepping inside a video game, where the game world feels as real as the non-game world. In fact, video games are one of the most exciting and engaging ways to enjoy VR today.
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=90nDMSIgt7I&t=1s
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPyAQQklc1s&t=1s