Greetings, our beloved readers. Virtual reality glasses have become perhaps the most notable event in the computer and mobile gaming industry over the past 10 years. It seemed that the sphere of digital entertainment could no longer offer anything fundamentally new. The improvement in graphics and the growth in physical size and display resolution had little to no effect on the gameplay. The release of the first models of glasses designed for the mass market showed that games can be completely different – not the same as we are used to.
blazoned with the “VR” logo have appeared in mobile app stores. In this article, we will talk about what VR glasses are, how they differ from each other and what accessories they can be used with.
What is virtual reality
Virtual reality is an artificially created world, transmitted to a person through sensations. Although the boom in popularity for VR devices has occurred in the last few years (and continues to this day), the first attempts to create an artificial world were made in the early 60s of the last century.
Virtual reality is completely artificial and is not connected with the real world, this is its fundamental difference from augmented reality.
Who is the creator
Myron Krueger, an American artist and creator of the first interactive works, is considered one of the pioneers in the field of virtual reality research. In the late 60s, he introduced the very concept of “artificial reality”.
Somewhat earlier, cinematographer Morton Heilig introduced the Sensorama simulator. The viewer was shown a series of short videos, accompanied by smells, the wind created by the hair dryer, and the noise of big cities.
The first helmet was described and designed by engineer Ivan Sutherland in 1967. The image for it was generated by a computer. The helmet was equipped with sensors that tracked the movements of the head, which made it possible to dynamically change the image depending on which way the user turned his head.
Actually, even then, the researchers came to the conclusion that a computer would create a picture for future virtual reality devices. In the 70s, computer graphics completely supplanted films, and the world of virtual reality moved to 3D.
The first simulators with helmets were by no means for the consumer market. Pilots were trained on them and in terms of their capabilities they were noticeably inferior to modern models. At that time, hardly anyone thought about gaming devices, because the personal computer market did not yet exist.
Long before the advent of the first VR devices, artificial reality helmets were described by science fiction writers.
What are VR goggles for?
VR glasses are needed to organize the stereo effect. It is with their help that the illusion of a three-dimensional image is created, and this is the main function of VR glasses.
The fundamental structure of modern helmets is no different from the device of the very first models. Inside the case there is a screen or several screens, in front of which there is a partition and two eyepieces with lenses. The dimensions of the helmets are relatively small, so they are often called glasses. However, there are differences. Helmets are equipped with their own displays, while in glasses the smartphone screen plays the role of the display.
The design of the helmet in the classical sense, that is, with a completely closed head, is used mainly in professional models used for training pilots and sailors.
How VR works
Both the cheapest and the most expensive glasses use the same principle. The original image is split into two separate images for the right and left eyes.
The septum between the eyepieces allows you to divide the field of view of a person into two areas. Images for each eye are broadcast alternately, but at a high frequency, so the human brain perceives the picture as a whole. As a result, a flat image becomes three-dimensional. In fact, the stereo effect deceives the brain, but this is enough for a person to feel like in virtual reality.
The effect of presence is enhanced by the tracking system. The VR helmet is equipped with sensors (gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers) that allow you to track changes in its position in space. Expensive models also have an IR sensor system that makes tracking more extensive and accurate. The image that a person sees on the internal monitor of the glasses instantly changes depending on which direction and at what angle he looks.
Varieties of VR devices
Despite the similar device and the general principle of operation, VR devices are usually divided into helmets and goggles. True, the border between them is not always noticeable, especially if you compare wireless glasses for a smartphone with a 3D helmet on Android.
Helmets are more technological devices. They have their own displays, sensors and sensors, and can be equipped with an advanced lens system with fine tuning. It is usually enough to look at the specifications to get a complete picture of what features a given device provides. As a rule, the helmet is connected to a personal computer and special configuration software is available for it.
The coolest models are sold with their own computers or laptops equipped with powerful graphics cards and plenty of RAM. For gamers, there are even special small PCs with batteries and backpacks for carrying. This allows you to ignore the wires that connect the helmet to the PC, and increases the freedom of movement.
There are also professional models. Often they look exactly like a helmet, completely covering the user’s head. Game models are rarely made in this form factor. As a rule, they are more like VR glasses for smartphones, but with a more advanced mounting system and with one or more connectors for connecting cables.
If you have ever gone to see a 3D movie in a cinema, then you have probably dealt with the simplest glasses, the appearance of which practically does not differ from ordinary sunglasses. This is the simplest and cheapest option, but it is only suitable for cinema.
For android and iPhone devices, there are more technically interesting VR gadgets. A mobile phone acts as a screen in such glasses.
The resolution of modern displays allows you to achieve a relatively high-quality picture even if the screen is divided into two halves (for the right and left eyes). The computing power of smartphones is also quite enough to run 3d games optimized for mobile devices.
What are the differences
A direct comparison of wired computer helmets with, as a rule, wireless VR glasses for Android and iOS is unlikely to be correct – the possibilities and application models are too different.
For helmets, sophisticated and complex computer applications with high-quality graphics are available. A good helmet provides a much stronger VR experience. Data processing takes place on the PC, which means that you can not worry about the lack of performance (of course, only on condition that the computer initially meets the requirements). The helmet is slightly larger than the goggles, but the difference is not so critical. The main limitation is wires and the need to use a computer.
Inexpensive standalone VR glasses are not capable of creating a strong immersive effect, and the level of graphics is not so high. But on the other hand, you can take glasses with you without being tied to a PC. Loss or breakage of the device is unlikely to be a cause for frustration.
Is it worth buying
The question of whether to buy or not to buy glasses can be greatly simplified if we take as an axiom the fact that everyone should get acquainted with virtual reality. If the artificial world appeals to you, you can easily find a use for a new VR device.
To get started, we recommend purchasing an inexpensive model of VR glasses for a smartphone. Firstly, this way you can immediately understand what they show and how well they do it. According to the description, these glasses are very similar to each other, so we advise you to read the reviews before buying.
As for computer helmets, they require a more serious approach. Such gadgets are not cheap and place high demands on the power of the PC.
Pros and cons
In order to summarize the above, we list the main advantages and disadvantages of VR devices.
Glasses for smartphones
- Big choice
- Ease of setup and operation
- The quality of workmanship is highly dependent on the manufacturer.
- The immersion effect is not very pronounced
- The level of graphics is relatively low
- The quality of the picture depends largely on the model of the smartphone.
Virtual reality is becoming more and more accessible. Inexpensive VR glasses are affordable for everyone, and computer helmets do not cost fabulous money. And although the difference between the artificial and real worlds is clearly visible, digital entertainment is gradually reaching a qualitatively new level.
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