As we write this, the current virtual reality atmosphere might be reinventing itself somewhere with the help of OEMs that are leaving no stone unturned to explore and provide you with an immersive experience in a never before manner. From 3D displays, VR domes, data gloves to head mounted displays, the virtual reality input devices create sensory experience and transform our real-life into an experience filled with virtual exaggeration.
Many big players are jumping on the bandwagon hoping to create the next big thing but until now the VR devices are used by armed forces, early technology adopters, VR enthusiasts, VR professionals and experts. They have not been able to go big or ‘mainstream’ but this has not stopped them from trying.
Here is our take on a few head turners that reaffirms our belief in the fact that well begun is the half done.
Google Cardboard is Google’s DIY VR initiative. This year’s I/O 2014 saw Sundar Pichai giving out a routine cardboard package to every person and stating that anybody can make a VR headset using household stuff. According to him, even the large pizza box would be useful to craft a VR out of it. The instructions and useful links are available on the on the project’s website.
Google has often voiced the concern that technology should be accessible to all and does not have to be expensive. The other VR headsets we have now cost a bomb but with a pocket-friendly technology, more and more people would try it and developers would also take an interest in developing VR apps that can reach to larger base.
The compatible smartphone for this initiative are Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Google Nexus 4 as well as 5. You can pair your DIY device via NFC and can see for yourself how it fares with Google Earth, Photo Sphere and YouTube. Though, if you are looking for more intriguing experience, go and try this cardboard device with Windy Day, Street Vue and Exhibit.
With this DIY project, Google has achieved the very thing that even the pioneer of this technology like Oculus could not, which is attention of the fence-sitters. By cutting on the price drastically, Google has also opened the way for several thrifty VR projects that will be of great help for the developers.
Facebook acquired Oculus and this gave a major boost to the research and business of VR at the company. The Oculus Rift, since then has seen three prototypes, Oculus CC Oculus Rift DK1 and Oculus Rift DK2. With each prototype, the company adds major positive aspects to enhance the user experience and increase the fun. The prototypes are available for developers and offer positional head-tracking and low persistence to address motion-blur nausea. With the latest versions, the game becomes more real and a more elevated experience. Even if you are moving your head rapidly, the graphics remain clear and do not blur.
It is to be noted that Oculus is the pioneer of new-age virtual reality though, the devices have only been available for developers.
Samsung Gear VR:
Samsung and Facebook-owned Oculus come together to create yet-to-be-released Samsung VR that utilizes Samsung Note 4. The demo and hands-on was scheduled for developers this year in Berlin at IFA 2014. It is a VR headset that is wireless and gives you a lag-free and wire-free entertainment experience. With the help of it, you can turn your Samsung Note 4 into a mean VR machine!
The VR comes with strap and adjustable lenses. The removable front cover makes way for Note 4 to be placed in. The device gets hardware from Samsung and software from Oculus. This can be a surprise for many that Oculus’s first ever consumer VR product backs on Samsung’s hardware prowess. Also, unlike its competitors, Samsung VR will be available for users and like its counterparts, it also suffers from technological hiccups like horsepower but it does look promising as the video is sharp. The Gear VR also has a gyrometer and accelerator to monitor head movements but cannot trace forward or backward head movement, which is a quite a limitation for a VR device.
Sony has brought several breakthrough products and is trying to gain foothold in the VR segment too? Reportedly, Sony is also working on VR device that is headed to Sony Playstation 4. It is called Project Morpheous. The headset is made of two pieces, one that looks like PlayStation Move sensor and is a closed display. Morpheus was unveiled by the studio head, Shuhei Yoshida who made clear that it is not the final design. He also stated that the prototype was the result of three years of work and will be released as a developer kit first.
The Morpheous emits a blue light and features both USB and HDMI connection. With positional head tracking, 360 degree tracking plus 3-meter volume and 1080 pixel display, the device has the potential to change the game for gaming enthusiasts.
The developer kit has five meter long wire and uses binaural audio to provide spatial sound. Like Oculus Rift, it also features a breakout box.
This head mounted VR prototype can be best termed as a dark horse. With the same trajectory of 210 degree horizontal view, the device is light and can be sported on the head directly without the help of additional mounting. The prototype is the brainchild of a group of VR enthusiasts and is still in funding phase, trying to generate €100,000 to make it a reality. The device has double screen and utilizes Fresnel lenses that do a wonderful work as well as provide high resolution. It is to be noted that field of view or FOV offered by Infinit Eye is 210 degree, almost twice than its competitors. The two screens are of 1280×800 and HD. The card slots are composite, VGA and HDMA entries. The wonderful thing is that despite offering too much on the plate, the device is lightweight enough to be carried on head without any additional help.
All in all, the realm of virtual reality is set to grow exponentially. The paradigm shift of virtual intelligence will sure be a thing to see if it happens to expand to other areas such as education or healthcare and not just entertainment. Till then, let us know if you think that VR will be the next big thing and how it could make a difference?