What is VR?
A term first coined by Jason Lanier in 1989, Virtual Reality is the next form of ‘immersive entertainment’ in the evolution of computers. While Virtual Reality can refer to almost any visual representation of a 3 dimensional virtual world, the most commonly form of VR is Fully Immersive Head-Mounted Display Systems. This category encompasses almost any type of VR where the user is wearing goggles with individual lenses projecting two separate images for each eye, and is the sort of Virtual Reality that we use at Evara VR.
VR in the marketplace and Cost:
The cost of a VR headset can range from $20 to $1000 depending on the quality. Starting at the lowest cost, the Google Cardboard ($20) and the Samsung Gear ($100) offer the quickest introduction to VR, however they require that the user has a powerful enough phone to run the software (Galaxy S6 and above). Moving upwards, the PlayStation VR headset currently offers the cheapest ‘gaming’ headset at $400 (only compatible with the PlayStation itself of course). Lastly, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive (priced at $600 and $800, respectively) offer the most robust VR experience when paired with a powerful enough computer.
Room Scale Virtual Reality:
Currently, Room Scale Virtual Reality is available on the HTC Vive and the Oculus (although it is better supported on the Vive) and allows the user to project the room they are standing in into the Virtual Reality software. Provided that the user has enough free space, the room can be configured in advance so that the player can see a virtual representation of the free space. With this virtual representation of the user’s room, the user can walk around the room without colliding with real-life obstacles such as walls or furniture.
As technology advances and prices drop, Virtual Reality is expected to become increasingly more mainstream within the next few years. The average household will have better access to Virtual Reality gaming and more cellular devices will support VR software. With accessibility becoming easier, a new wave of Virtual Reality programs is expected to surface with potentially endless applications ranging from entertainment to healthcare to military training.