What is a Virtual Reality: Types of Headsets, Equipment & Games!

Using special electronic equipment, such as gloves with sensors or a screen inside a helmet, a person can interact with a virtual reality image or environment in a way that seems real or physical. 

In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about virtual reality. 

What is Virtual Reality?

With virtual reality, a person can interact with a three-dimensional image or environment in a seemingly real way using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves with sensors.

Virtual reality may also refer to:

A computer-simulated 3D environment in which the user can interact with the surroundings and perform specific tasks;

The use of artificial reality technology, including virtual worlds and synthetic environments in various fields, such as business, entertainment, and medicine;

An immersive experience where the participant interacts with humans and/or robots who are not physically present.

The Evolution of VR

The origins of VR can be traced back to the 1950s when an aeronautical engineer named Morton Heilig created a multi-sensory machine called the Sensorama. 

In 2014, Google released Cardboard, a low-cost virtual reality platform that lets you turn your smartphone into a low-tech headset using cardboard housing with a pair of lenses. Since then, several manufacturers have launched their versions of VR headsets that work with smartphones.

The Feeling of Virtual Reality

Feelings when you are immersed in a virtual environment? The typical answer to that question is the presence—the feeling of being “there” and totally inside another world. 

You see things, hear things, move around, and interact with your surroundings. You can feel like a bird flying freely or as if you were standing on the ocean floor surrounded by thousands of colorful fish. 

But there are other feelings as well: excitement, fear, exhilaration. These feelings are what make VR so exciting!

Difference Between AR and VR

You can think of the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality like this:

Virtual reality is an entirely computer-generated world, which you enter and explore. It might be a world that doesn’t exist in the real world, or it might be a virtual representation of our own Earth. 

For example, you could be exploring an alien planet or walking down High Street in your hometown as a dinosaur. In VR, everything you see is fake (unless you are looking at yourself!).

A virtual element is added to the real world through augmented reality. These elements blend with reality seamlessly – so much so that the virtual elements look real to those experiencing them! It’s like Harry Potter’s invisible cloak has become real life! 

AR glasses mean that people can interact with these digitally created objects as though they were physically present.

What Can You Do with Virtual Reality?

Gaming

VR’s first application was in the gaming industry. Some games are in a first-person perspective, allowing you to feel like you are in the game, and others allow you to use your actual hands to play, so you can look around and interact with what is happening on screen. 

The virtual world has been expanded into many different games such as racing, fighting, shooting, sports, and much more. 

If playing a game itself wasn’t enough, it also allows multiplayer and social interaction between other players!

Education

Virtual reality can be used as a powerful tool for education. It has allowed students to have an interactive experience within realistic environments that they would usually not have access to or dangerous (e.g., operating surgery equipment or hostile war zones). 

It offers them new ways of learning about these things rather than just reading about them from a textbook or sitting through an illustrated lecture from their teacher. 

Many colleges are already using VR as part of their study material with great success! Not only is it helping students learn, but some studies show that it helps them retain all this information better too!

Healthcare

Surgeons now use VR technology during operations giving them precise information about patients before operating on them. 

They can use 3D models of organs, which gives them a better view than if they were just looking at 2D images such as x-rays and scans – this means they can operate more effectively because they know what area they need to work on without having to do any extra procedures that could risk the patient’s health further (such as exploratory surgery). 

Rehabilitation centers are also using VR: it is used for physiotherapy practices by simulating different exercises which help patients recover without having the risk of hurting themselves while doing these exercises in real life. 

It uses similar technology found in video game controllers making rehabilitation sessions much more engaging for patients (especially those who enjoy playing video games!).

How Does Virtual Reality Work?

Now you know everything there is to know about virtual reality hardware. But how does it work?

Virtual reality hardware is made up of sensors and input devices. The goal of these sensors and input devices is to sense what you are doing in the real world, then translate that into action in your VR world.

Here’s an overview of how VR games sense your movements:

How does VR sense your head movements? Sensors on the headset use a technology called “inside-out tracking.” 

The headset has two cameras on the outside looking inward to track accelerometers on the inside. It lets it track your head movements as you turn it around in all directions (left, right, up, down). 

It also lets you duck out of view from cameras if you want privacy. Some headsets use external cameras like PlayStation Move or Oculus Rift instead. These are called “outside-in tracking.”

How does VR sense your hand movements? The controllers or wands are equipped with inertial measurement units (IMUs) that measure acceleration using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

They also have a built-in GPS that tracks where they’re moving in 3D space relative to other objects using radio waves sent out by satellites orbiting Earth.

The IMU can detect when they’re being moved at different speeds/directions/angles, which tells them where each controller needs to be positioned. 

It matches up exactly with what’s happening on screen (i.e., if one goes left while another goes right). It means there isn’t any lag time between when something happens virtually versus physically because both actions happen simultaneously!

3 Types of Virtual Reality

Following are the 3 types of virtual reality: 

Non-immersive VR:

This kind of VR does not use any headsets or special equipment. It can be downloaded onto your phone and viewed in an app or website. 

They are the most simple versions, where you don’t have full control over what is happening inside the virtual reality. 

The best example would be Google Street View, as it allows you to look around 360 degrees but does not let you fully interact with it.

Semi-immersive VR:

The next level of virtual reality requires a headset and some physical interaction to control the experience. 

It’s still not completely immersive because the user is still aware of their surroundings and may see actual objects around them while experiencing the simulated environment. 

A good example of this is an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset. You will see things within the VR world while wearing a headset, but you are still aware that there is actual furniture in front of you, so you don’t sit down on it thinking it’s just part of your virtual world!

Fully Immersive Virtual Reality:

This type uses all possible means to give users an entirely immersive experience. 

There are non-visual sensory inputs like sound, smell (like those scratch’ n sniff stickers we used to have as kids), taste, etc. that get into the mix too! 

The more physical effects there are in a VR experience, such as wind blowing on your face through fans connected to your equipment, temperature changes, or even motion-based seats that move depending on what happens within the virtual world – the more likely it will create a realistic virtual reality experience for users via these sensory inputs!

Virtual Reality Gears

  1. Virtual Reality Headsets: These are the most important gears in VR headsets. They are meant to immerse you by blocking everything from the outside world and giving you a 360 view of 3-D images.
  1. Virtual Reality Glasses: These act like normal glasses except that they allow one to interact with computers and VR videos through buttons on their sides.
  1. Virtual Reality Gloves: These are worn like gloves with sensors to track hand movements for more immersive gameplay; some come with haptic feedback for better authenticity.
  1. Virtual Reality Controller: This device is used by players to navigate through an artificial space displayed in VR headsets; it can also be used in conjunction with other devices such as a glove or haptic vest for more advanced interaction within the virtual reality environment; these controllers typically have triggers on them which allow users to select objects within their reach without having to remove their hands off them (an example would be picking up items in games like “The Legend Of Zelda”).
  1. Virtual Reality Haptic Vest: A wearable device designed specifically for use while playing virtual reality games; it provides tactile feedback via vibrations throughout its surface area when certain events happen inside the game being played (such as getting hit).

Virtual Reality Headset Types

Following are the main types of virtuality headsets:  

  1. Dedicated Headsets
  1. Mobile Headsets
  1. Handheld VR headsets (These are the ones you can hold in your hands. They use a smartphone as their screen and processing power. Examples: include Google Cardboard, Gear VR, and Daydream View) 
  1. Standalone VR headsets (This type of headset doesn’t require a phone or PC to work. As long as it is charged, it’ll work without any external equipment or wires. The Oculus Go is an example of this type of headset.)
  1. PC/Console VR headsets
  1. Tethered VR headsets (This headset requires a phone, computer, or game console to work and is physically connected to the device by wires. Tethered headsets like the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite need a gaming PC, while the Oculus Quest needs at least a 64GB SD card to work properly (to save downloaded games)). 

Popular Virtual Reality Games to Play Once in a LifeTime

  • ARK: Survival Evolved: This game allows you to survive on an island filled with dinosaurs. You can hunt, and if you’re a dinosaur lover, you can even tame one.
  • Fallout 4 VR: This one is similar to the game’s standard version. It lets you explore the wasteland and experience a new way to play the game.
  • Beat Saber: This is a rhythm game that requires players to cut in different directions. With their sabers as they slash at boxes in time with the music.
  • Superhot VR: In this Matrix-like first-person shooter, time moves when you move, and your goal is to kill everyone before they kill you!
  • Gran Turismo Sport: The best racing simulators are the ones that allow users to experience driving like never before! If racing cars are your thing, this one will surely blow your mind away!

Verdict!

Virtual reality is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment. 

The feedback is primarily auditory and visual but other sensory feedback may also be allowed, such as haptic feedback.

This immersive environment can be similar to the real world. Or it can be fantastic, creating an experience that is impossible in ordinary physical reality.

Virtual reality has 3 main types: 

  1. Non-immersive
  2. Semi-immersive
  3. Fully immersive. 

Non-immersive VR uses a desktop or laptop computer to display a controlled environment. 

Semi-immersive VR adds the use of head-mounted displays or multi-projected environments to surround the user with virtual material. Fully immersive VR places tracking sensors on the user’s body. So they can navigate their surroundings while being tracked as they move in multiple dimensions.

So, there you go! We have curated everything that you need to know about virtual reality technology. 

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