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Guide to the amazing world of VR

Guide to the amazing world of VR

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Virtual Reality

The VR hype began with Palmer Lucky, who created the first prototype of a VR headset that would later become the Oculus Rift Mark Zuckerberg bought for $2bn. Since then images of various pairs of large goggles have popped up all over the internet, as many other companies have taken up virtual reality and created the HTC Vive, Sony Playstation’s VR, Samsung Gear’s VR, Google Cardboard and many more.

It can be become quite the challenge to keep up with the rapidly evolving tech and innovations, so we have put together an introduction to virtual reality to help you understand the amazing world of VR:

How VR works

There are different forms of VR headsets also known as HMDs or head-mounted displays. The more expensive ones need to be connected to a computer to run apps and games. Through this connection either two feeds are sent to one display or two LCD displays, one for each eye. In the latter case, each eye gets to see a 2D image to mimic how we usually view the world and to create a stereoscopic 3D image for our brains to perceive. The less pricey option is to simply insert your mobile phone into the headset and get started with games and videos optimised for VR.

Depending on the apps and games you’ll be using, you’ll also need accessories like a good pair of headphones, hand controllers, gaming joypads or even treadmills.

Via head-tracking the VR system follows your movements within the virtual reality and you can have a look around and explore. This works through a system called ‘six degrees of freedom’, which measures your head movements forward and backwards, side to side and shoulder to shoulder. Binaural or 3D audio is used in conjunction with head-tracking technology to produce the effect of sounds coming from different locations inside a game.

Tracking other movements is still an area of rapid development. At the moment, you usually get a set of wireless controllers that offer more control in games through triggers and buttons and give the illusion of using your own hands in VR.

Various companies are already working on the next generation of VR that will enable us to feel the virtual reality around us. Innovations like VR gloves that allow players to feel feedback when touching objects in virtual reality or VR connected shirts that track the wearer’s motions and deliver feedback through sensors in different places across the shirt will not just be a vision of the future but become regular tech in the present.

Create your own VR space

Are you ready to try VR for yourself after our short introduction? Get all set up for the virtual reality experience with these five quick tips:

  1. Create plenty of space in your new VR room. You’ll be moving around a lot, so any fragile objects should be banned. Make sure there are no low-hanging lamps that could be damaged when you wave your arms in battle.
  2. Watch VR in a swivel chair. You want to be mobile and move around in the virtual reality you’re watching.
  3. A beanbag in the corner can be useful for when you’re exhausted after an intense gaming session or for your friends to sit down on while they’re waiting their turn.
  4. Have some water at the ready. Taking breaks and having a drink every 15 minutes or so should be enough to avoid any virtual reality sickness.
  5. Dim the lights. When you arrive back in time for dinner from a far-away galaxy, you’ll appreciate a slightly darker room rather than feeling like a vampire stepping into the sun.

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