Virtual Reality Technology (aka VR Tech) incorporates a variety of interface devices that help you immerse yourself in a virtual reality. Since the first VR tech boom of the 1990s, there have been significant advances in the variety and performance of VR tech. Back then, VR tech was bulky, full of wires, high priced and had an overly techy and futuristic appearance, which may have been a turn off for some consumers like us. (You can see some old VR photos on our virtual reality Pinterest page.)
Today, virtual reality gear is smaller, lighter, comfortable and more affordable. The trend has now changed from the bulky head mounted displays (HMD) to lighter and sleek models that are comfortable and fit neatly on the face. Google generated tremendous excitement about virtual reality back in 2014 when it released Google Cardboard. This VR headset was able to turn just about any phone into a virtual reality device for under $20.
Today, we see a broader range of VR techs, which include:
- Head mounted displays (HMD) aka virtual reality headsets
- Omnidirectional treadmills
- Virtual reality domes
- Data suits
- Data gloves
- Body trackers
- Game pads
The most well-know type of VR tech: head mounted displays (aka virtual reality headsets)
One of the most important and recognizable VR tech is the head mounted display, also known as the virtual reality headset. These are used by gamers, researchers, trainers and other people that engage with virtual reality.
Standard Head Mounted Display (HMD) comprises of a pair of special goggles or helmet with a screen that is capable of displaying 3D images. The head gear also comes with headphones and/or speakers for audio and video output capabilities.While early prototypes were cable-connected, we’re finding that new models of this virtual technology offer wireless display. This has the potential to create time lag (latency) can be experienced. Time lag refers to the time delay between the user’s action and expected response, e.g. shift in perception.
Virtual reality headsets also include a head tracking device which is used to change the images displayed and their point of view according to the wearer’s head movements. Here on our website, you will find more information about virtual reality headsets, a virtual reality headset comparison chart, and reviews of the Oculus Rift, Sony Project Morpheus and I Am Cardboard.
VR tech for full-body immersion: omnidirectional treadmills
More and more people want to experience full-body immersion when they’re exploring a virtual world. Omnidirectional treadmills are robust full-body devices that let users walk, run and explore within the game while wearing their virtual reality headset.
Two of the VR treadmills generating the most attention right now are the Virtuix Omni and the Cyberith Virtualizer. Each of these treadmills comes with built-in sensors that track the movement of your feet, legs and body while you use this VR tech. This allows your virtual movements to mimic your real-life movements (and you get some exercise in the process!)
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