So, when we’ve figured out what virtual reality is, we can move on to how to be in it. You’ll need special devices for that. All of them are relatively new and new to the market, but even so, the principle of “give me the latest” will not always provide you with a good choice. Therefore, we suggest you walk with us through the jungle of virtual reality devices to better understand.
First, let’s define the terminology at once. You can hear concepts such as video glasses, virtual or augmented reality glasses, virtual reality helmet – and these are not synonyms. These are all separate types of devices with different functionality.
VIDEO GLASSES: HOME HELPER
Video glasses are a common addition to the home theater system. They don’t work as a stand-alone unit, they just help you get a better feel for what your cool plasma panel is showing – nothing more. While some of them may allow you to watch 3D video, or even spherical video, they’re nothing compared to other devices.
AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES: NEW HOPE
There are also Augmented Reality glasses. The very first of them were Google Glass – these are glasses that were supposed to “supplement” the real objects that you saw through the glass. The project was stunningly defeated and nobody was particularly impressed. First of all, the users were not satisfied with the imperfection of their work, primitive functions and rather strange external design.
Despite this failure, Microsoft recently decided to invest in a similar project of another augmented reality glasses – HoloLens. The prototype of glasses looks more interesting than Google Glass, and the system of their work should be more perfect.
The key difference is that Microsoft project will use holographic images for augmenting reality and, consequently, their functionality will be much wider. Besides, they will be standalone and will not require any connection to any device.
Now you shouldn’t even seriously consider augmented reality glasses as an option to buy them, because there are no complete devices on the market.
VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES AND VR-HEADSETS: TITS IN HAND
The main difference between augmented reality glasses and virtual reality glasses is that the former cannot provide you with a full immersion in the virtual world. This type of glasses will be more of an assistant for educational purposes, household, useful in the work.
But the virtual reality glasses can provide you with a full immersion. The most famous glasses of this type are still Samsung Gear VR – and they look like a full helmet. Some call this device a compromise for those who want to dive into the virtual world for a relatively small fee.
The Gear VR works from a Samsung smartphone. The phone is inserted into the helmet body with lenses and connects to it via microUSB.
Image resolution will depend on which smartphone you are using. Do not forget that this is a mobile device, so you should not wait for super-high graphics characteristics initially. Content developers initially reduce image quality and detail, so that the smartphone, in terms of power significantly inferior to full-fledged computers, could cope with the output of two images with high update rate, necessary to create an effect of immersion.
You can control the process with the built-in buttons, or you can buy additional joysticks and touchpads.
For especially experienced gamers the device will not provide revolutionary sensations, and it can rather be called a device for a casual introduction to the world of virtual reality. If you like it, you’ll definitely want to get to something more serious and you won’t need Gear VR glasses anymore.
The most affordable glasses can be called Google Cardboard – and in the beginning they were not perceived as anything but a joke from the corporation. Google has shown, how literally on knees to collect from improvised means the device for a virtual reality – it is required a cardboard, pair of lenses and belts for fastening.
This device (if you can call it that) is ideal for a beginner who wants to get acquainted with virtual reality.
VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS: HEAVY ARTILLERY
The most impressive device on the virtual reality market now remains the helmets. And even though they look like futuristic goggles, they are the ones that can provide a complete immersion in virtual reality.
Of course, Oculus Rift remains the most famous – because of its superiority. The first version of the helmet for developers appeared back in the summer, but the first commercial version for consumers began selling. The helmet was very expected in the virtual reality market. On the one hand, the device aroused great interest and brought virtual reality into the mass consciousness, on the other hand – showed that in this direction still work and work.
In terms of technical characteristics and quality of work so far the most complete work and seems to be the most finalized version of the helmet on the market. A plus is also access to content from Steam, although the library of the other two helmets looks more than worth.
If you do not want to spend so much money on virtual reality, a good budget option would be PlayStation VR (if you are already the happy owner of the game console).
For serious virtual experience it is difficult to recommend VR glasses, as they are unlikely to allow you to feel the beauty of the virtual world. Oculus Rift loses to its competitors both in terms of characteristics and price, and wins only in marketing, remaining known as the first VR-helmet.