As technology continues to improve, more diverse virtual reality devices emerge onto the market each day. From low-cost head-mounted displays to sophisticated full-room systems with feedback suits, there is now a tremendous variety of virtual reality experiences available – many more than most people realize.
And while some virtual reality systems have become popular consumer items that anyone can buy online or in stores, others require hefty investments of time and money. But for those who want to learn more, this article will take an in-depth look at all these different types of virtual reality devices – discussing how they work and highlighting their potential applications.
- 1 What Is Virtual Reality Exactly?
- 2 The Standard Types Of Virtual Reality Devices
- 3 Smartphone-Based VR Headsets
- 4 Standalone VR Headsets
- 5 Tethered VR Headsets
- 6 Different Components Of Virtual Reality Devices
- 7 Handheld Controllers
- 8 Motion Tracking Sensors
- 9 Haptic Feedback Devices
- 10 Additional VR Accessories
- 11 Headphones
- 12 Eye Tracking Devices
- 13 Additional Sensors
- 14 Explore The World Of Virtual Reality Devices!
What Is Virtual Reality Exactly?
Virtual reality is a technological innovation gaining traction in recent years. It takes the form of immersive 3D simulated environments, allowing users to explore and interact with them like they would the real world. These simulations are made possible through headsets that give users’ eyes a 360-degree view of their surroundings and audio systems for fully immersing them in the virtual space.
They can use motion controllers or hand gestures to manipulate objects and navigate within that environment. With designs that are growing increasingly more realistic and sophisticated, it will be soon that such innovative technology makes its way into everyday life.
The Standard Types Of Virtual Reality Devices
As far as virtual reality devices go, there are three standard options. These are common types offered by many companies, ranging from high-end to more affordable alternatives. These include smartphone-based VR headsets, standalone headsets, and PC-powered tethered headsets. Here is a breakdown of these different types of devices.
Smartphone-Based VR Headsets
Smartphone-based VR headsets are the most accessible VR device, as they are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. These headsets typically consist of a frame that holds a smartphone, with lenses in front of the phone’s screen that allow you to see the VR content. Some popular smartphone-based VR headsets include Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.
Smartphone-based VR headsets are best suited for casual VR experiences like watching 360-degree videos or playing simple games. Your smartphone powers these devices, so there is no need for an external power source or computer. However, the quality of the VR experience can vary depending on your phone’s resolution and processing power.
Standalone VR Headsets
Standalone VR headsets are a step up from smartphone-based headsets, as they are fully self-contained and do not require a smartphone or computer to function. These devices have screens, processors, and batteries designed specifically for VR experiences. The most popular standalone VR headset on the market is the Oculus Quest 2, which features high-resolution screens and six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking, which allows you to move around in virtual space.
Other standalone VR headsets include the HTC Vive Focus Plus and the Pico Neo 2. Standalone VR headsets are more expensive than smartphone-based headsets, but they offer a more immersive VR experience and are ideal for gaming and other high-intensity VR applications.
Tethered VR Headsets
Tethered VR headsets are the most advanced VR device, offering the highest quality VR experience possible. These devices are connected to a computer via a cable, which allows for high-resolution graphics and a large amount of processing power. Examples of tethered VR headsets include the Oculus Rift S, the HTC Vive Pro, and the Valve Index.
Tethered VR headsets are the most expensive type of VR device, but they are also the most versatile, with a wide range of applications beyond gaming. These devices offer the most realistic VR experience, with high-quality graphics and 6DOF tracking. They are ideal for professional VR applications such as architecture, design, and medical training.
Different Components Of Virtual Reality Devices
More than just knowing those different types of VR devices is required. It is also important to understand the components of a virtual reality experience. These include controllers, tracking systems, and feedback devices. Here is a brief overview of each component.
Handheld controllers are essential to many VR experiences, allowing you to interact with the virtual environment more naturally. Handheld controllers typically have a trigger, a joystick or touchpad, and buttons and are tracked in 6DOF to allow for natural movement in the virtual space.
Examples of handheld controllers include the Oculus Touch, the Valve Index Controllers, and the HTC Vive Wand. These controllers are compatible with tethered and standalone VR headsets and can be used for various applications, including gaming and professional applications such as CAD design and 3D modeling.
Motion Tracking Sensors
Motion tracking sensors are used to track the movement of your body in the virtual space, allowing for a more immersive VR experience. These sensors can be placed around a room or attached to your body to track your movement in 6DOF. The market’s most popular motion tracking system is the HTC Vive Lighthouse system, which uses two base stations to track your movement.
When using a tethered or standalone VR headset, you may also need to use sensors such as the Oculus Guardian system or the Windows Mixed Reality controllers. These sensors help track your movement and provide boundaries for safety when using the device.
Haptic Feedback Devices
Haptic feedback devices provide tactile feedback, allowing you to feel the virtual environment. These devices can simulate the feeling of touch, allowing you to feel objects and surfaces in the virtual world. Examples of haptic feedback devices include the Oculus Touch controllers, which offer haptic feedback when interacting with objects in the virtual space.
Other examples include the Novint Falcon, which uses a robotic arm with force feedback to simulate the feeling of touch, and exoskeletal gloves, which track your hand movement and provide tactile feedback. These devices allow for a more immersive VR experience, allowing you to interact with the virtual environment realistically.
Additional VR Accessories
In addition to the VR devices themselves, a variety of accessories are available to enhance the VR experience. These accessories include headphones, eye-tracking devices, and additional sensors. Here is a brief overview of some of the most popular accessories.
Headphones are an essential accessory for any VR experience, providing immersive audio to accompany the visuals. Many VR headsets come with built-in headphones, but if your headset doesn’t have them, a variety of aftermarket headphones are available that provide high-fidelity audio.
Eye Tracking Devices
Eye-tracking technology can control your avatar or manipulate objects in the virtual world. Eye-tracking devices are used to track the movement of your eyes, allowing for more natural interactions with the virtual environment. The HTC Vive Pro Eye and the Oculus Quest 2 have built-in eye-tracking capabilities.
Finally, a variety of additional sensors can be used to enhance the VR experience. These include motion capture systems, which track your body movements in 3D space; gesture-tracking devices, which track hand and finger movements; and head tracking systems, which allow you to look around the virtual environment.
Explore The World Of Virtual Reality Devices!
VR is an ever-evolving technology, and the number of available virtual reality devices and accessories continues to grow. These devices and accessories can create more immersive experiences in virtual worlds, allowing you to explore and interact with the environment in new and exciting ways. From basic options like smartphone-based headsets to high-end tethered headsets, there is a VR device and accessory for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a casual experience or an ultra-immersive setup, the options are nearly endless!