Virtual Reality is the new fascinating way to transport yourself using nothing more than the power of technology. With the use of a headset and motion tracking, VR lets you immerse yourself into a virtual space as if you’re actually there. It has shown a lot of promise for years but has never been able to gain as much traction as people expected a few years back. The new wave of VR products are aiming to change that but first, we must discuss what is a headset and why do we need it.
What is a Virtual Reality Headset?
A virtual reality headset is a heads-up display (HUD) that allows users to interact with a digitally simulated environment. It allows the user to experience a first-person view of an environment entirely simulated by the developer. VR headsets cover the eyes and replace the real world environment with virtually generated images shown to the user via a screen inside of the headset. The motion tracking system incorporated into the device allows the user to pan their heads to move their sight around the digital environment ion the same way that you would in the real world.
Although the crooks of the virtual reality technology have been around for many years, the hardware in the form of a cabled headset is many downfalls. They are relatively expensive to the average person – typically around $500, they are heavy and require a more permanent location due to setup time. In more recent times, the mobile markets answer to those issues has been the mobile VR head mounts. These are basically goggles that use the hardware from your smartphone to create a display and power the VR experience. Some of the more expensive versions contain extra motion trackers but as the evolution of the smartphone continues the requirement for hardware within the goggles has dramatically decreased. Mobile apps also include stereo sound and some even pushing to surround sound.
Types of VR Headsets Available
- Google Cardboard – a low-cost, smartphone container made of plain cardboard. This was googles entry product into the VR market.
- HTC Vive – This is a top of the range tethered device that connects with a PC for an impressive gaming experience. Dual base stations allow users to move freely through a 15′ X 15′ area. The system was developed collaboratively with Portal.
- Microsoft’s Hololens – The system features 3D spatialized sound, Wi-Fi, a Kinect-like camera with a 120-degree spatial sensing system, a fleet of gyroscopes and accelerometers and a transparent screen for each eye.
- Oculus Rift – Arguably one of the most famous devices. This computer-based system was developed by oculus who was purchased by Facebooks CEO in 2014. Rift works with positioning technology that lets the user move physically through 3D space and has Touch controllers.
- PlayStation VR – Popular in the gaming scene the device works with PlayStation 4. The system duplicates the headset VR display on a TV.
- Samsung Gear VR – Is the most popular mobile VR headset. They have developed a system which works with high-end Samsung Galaxy models. It was developed in collaboration with Oculus VR.
This article hopefully helps you understand a bit more about what a Virtual Reality headset is and what it is for. We are sure that you will be hearing a lot more about them in the not too distant future.