How Much Do You Know About VR?

by Kate Borshchuk
Gaming and VR specialist

March 8, 2018

Digital Transformation

Over the last century, technological advancements have utterly changed the way we perceive the world. From communication, education, and entertainment to the way businesses and countries are run around the world. The invention of the World Wide Web paved the way to global connectedness and spawned multifarious markets for a new generation of consumers.

Today, we feel uncomfortable leaving the house without a smartphone and slow internet connection drives us insane. Yet, a few decades ago, phones were stationary and no one even heard of the internet. Now we are moving towards a new digital frontier – a truly immersive virtual reality.

VR vs AR

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the two cutting-edge developments fuelling the next technological leap. VR is an immersive, virtual world experience whereas AR is an overlay of digital items on photos, videos, and live camera feed. VR devices, depending on their type, require connection to a PC, console, or a smartphone. AR technology, however, mostly works as a standalone device. While VR and AR have a lot in common, they differ greatly in their applications and fulfil different needs.

Experiencing VR

The market for VR and its applications has been growing considerably since the unveiling of the first consumer ready VR device back in 2016. Current VR technology tracks the position of your head and arms to stimulate your senses and create an illusion of reality. VR can be used to connect people across the world and deliver powerful, emotional experiences in a more immersive way than any other modern technology.

The components of a PC or a console VR set are the headset, sensors, and hand trackers. Headset consist of two displays (1 per eye), lenses, positional sensors creating 6 degrees of freedom experience, and an audio system. Sensors are the specific type cameras used to track movement from head and hands controllers. Hand trackers provide information about the position of users’ hands by reading their inputs.

PC and Game Consoles

Oculus rift pc and game controllers do you know vr

Oculus Rift

Resolution: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 resolution per eye)
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Display Type: PenTile OLED
Field of View: 110 degrees
Tracking System: Constellation

HTC vive pc and game controllers do you know vr

HTC Vive

Resolution: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 resolution per eye)
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Display Type: PenTile OLED
Field of View: 110 degrees
Tracking System: Vive Base Stations

PlayStation VR pc and game controllers do you know vr

PlayStation VR

Resolution: 1920×1080
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Display Type: 5.7″ OLED
Field of View: 100 degrees
Tracking System: PlayStation Camera

Mobile VR headsets

All you need for mobile VR is a headset and a smartphone that can be connected to it.

Samsung Gear VR mobile VR headsets do you know vr

Samsung Gear VR

Field of view: 100 degrees
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Tracking System: accelerometer, gyro sensor, proximity sensor

Google Daydream view mobile VR headsets do you know vr

Google Daydream View

Field of view: 90 degrees
Display: depends on the smartphone
Refresh Rate: depends on the smartphone
Tracking System: depends on the smartphone

Google Cardboard mobile VR headsets do you know vr

Google Cardboard

Field of view: 90 degrees
Display: depends on the smartphone
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Tracking System: depends on the smartphone

Spinning Reality

Even though VR has evolved greatly over the last few years, fooling our brains into a new reality still remains a challenge. Once immersed into a virtual environment, there can be a mismatch between what your brain and body experience resulting in motion sickness.

Tech companies are continuously improving their VR devices to provide full scale immersion without the drawbacks and health risks. Without a cemented market share, companies have to continue to develop and refine their systems to offer superior customer experience. Some studies, for example, have gone on to show that adding a virtual nose and arms helped to reduce motion sickness.

Meanwhile, however, consumers are encouraged to stick to the following guidelines:

1. Manage your time wisely. Avoid using VR for an extended period of time. It is recommended to use VR for no more than 20 minutes per session.
2. If you experience motion sickness whilst standing, try to sit down. For some games, it is even recommended to stay seated for the whole time.
3. Choose a headset with a refresh rate of minimum 90 frames per second to reduce the subtle latencies between what is seen and what movement is physically experienced.

Upcoming Developments

Exponential technological advancements made the consumers expect and continuously desire new, better, faster devices. Recent VR improvements come in the form of higher resolution, advanced audio, improved comfort, and wireless connectivity. Furthermore, there are plans to develop motion sensors embedded in headsets and whole-body tracking suits.

Standalone device announced for release are Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus, and HTC Vive Pro.

oculus GO future development VR headsets do you know vr

Oculus GO

Resolution: 2560×1440
Display Type: WQHD LDC ‘fast switch’
Field of View: 90 degrees
Tracking System: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer

HTC Vive Focus future development VR headsets do you know vr

HTC Vive Focus

Resolution: 2880×1600
Refresh Rate: 75Hz
Display Type: 3K AMOLED
Field of View: 110 degrees
Tracking System: world-scale tracking, 9-axis sensors, proximity sensor

HTC Vive Pro future development VR headsets do you know vr

HTC Vive Pro

Resolution: 2280×1600 (1400×1600 resolution per eye)
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Display Type: AMOLED
Field of View: 110 degrees
Tracking System: SteamVR tracking technology, G-sensor calibration, gyroscope gyroscope, proximity distance sensor, IPD sensor

HTC Vive Wireless Adapter is seen as the first wirelessly integrated adapter for both HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro VR headsets. It is going to feature Intel’s WI Gig technology and offer a superior VR wireless experience. The adapter running at low latency should prevent wireless interference and improve performance.

The current version of PSVR setup needs a PlayStation camera to follow the position of the controllers and the headset. New patents filed by PlayStation for an updated version of motion controllers with a thumb stick and better-placed buttons should make controls feel more natural when wearing a headset. The second patent is an alternative to motion controllers. The new PSVR headset will have motion sensors embedded in the headset to be able to track a user’s finger placement solely from the headset’s position.

What’s Next?

Technological development is an ongoing process. It has already removed numerous barriers and created the whole lot of possibilities for both consumers and businesses. With tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung, and Google investing billions in VR technology it may turn out to be the future for many industries.

Coming up next…

Our next article will be published at the start of April and be about the most influenced sector so far and the way the VR technology impacted it.

Take a look at our other Tech articles to learn more about technology that is shaping our world before our eyes.