10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Reality Headsets
June 12, 2017 (3 Comments) by Alannah Kenny

10-things-you-need-to-know-about-virtual-reality-headsets

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are taking over the tech world but they aren’t a new innovation. The first VR headset was developed in 1994 followed by Sony’s the Glasstron, but these innovations were ultimately weakened by the limited technology they possessed. The VR headset wasn’t revisited again until 2012 and from there we have seen an epic boom after new revamped designs have emerged. So if you are quietly contemplating what the almighty fuss is about, here are 10 things you should know about VR headsets and whether they’re worth it.

1. Takes Gaming to Another Level

Taking Gaming to Another Level

VR headsets are targeted largely towards but not limited to the gaming community. What you can expect as a gamer varies with the product but usually it will involve wearing a clunky eye-mask, holding a joy-stick in each hand and YOU becoming the controller. Companies like PlayStation 4 have their own versions which differ from versions produced by Samsung that can be used with your Smartphone instead. It has also been a hit among the big YouTube gamers like Markiplier, who have demonstrated games such as Job Simulator using the VR headset.

2. Caters for Movie Lovers

caters-for-movie-lovers

The headsets were designed to allow for many interactive uses and one of them is watching movies. Headsets such as the Oculus Rift or the Samsung Gear VR allow you to purchase an in-built video app in their store that allows you to watch movies on the device along with your own personal videos. Not to mention Netflix content and anything else you could watch on a normal desktop. The experience is said to be profoundly immersive, with the ability to choose the setting you watch in, be it a cinema or yes… the moon! It also lets you make adjustments to the screen to your liking. One downside however; it isn’t too healthy for your eyes so regular breaks are advised.

3. 3D Music Streaming

3d-music-streaming

Music content is also something that is getting the virtual reality treatment. Imagine being able to watch a concert using a VR headset and being immersed as if you were there? Well this is becoming more of a reality thanks to VR programming. In 2014, one of the first experiences of this was when Jaunt VR released its first Google Cardboard app called Paul McCartney. This was a 360 degree full playback of McCartney’s Live and Let Die concert, plus a front row seat which would have cost a fortune in the flesh. The 3D sound-field microphones used to record the concert also provide a sharp audio experience, so travelling may not be a major concern with a plan B like this.

4. Social Media Opportunities

social-media-opportunities

After Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans to buy Oculus, it opened up new opportunities with virtual reality ceasing to just be a solo experience, instead with the ability to connect millions of people. Social Beta is one form of software that Oculus launched. The software enabled people to share a virtual cinema experience with other VR headset users globally, through video streaming apps like Twitch and Vimeo. Similar apps like this are currently in the works, including a virtual avatar that could replace Skype as a means of communication.

5. Business/Education

virtual-surgeon

Aside from all the novelties that a VR headset offers, it is also being used as an educational tool in the workplace. For example, some Universities are now using a Virtual Surgeon programme to help train medical students, by enabling them to conduct and experience operations from a surgeon’s perspective. The Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai hospital is currently looking into using such technology as a means of therapeutic treatment by using the simulations VR headsets provide.

6. Adult Material

adult-material

This is one of the more controversial aspects of the content created for the VR headset but it is important to be aware of, especially if young users are to be considered. The Red Light Centre is currently trying to cash in on the adult entertainment industry with film producers and sex toy manufacturers in support of creating a virtual porn experience. Virtual gambling is also something that is being introduced as potential content for the VR headset experience.

7. Tethered or Mobile?

tethered-or-mobile

Tethered headsets connect to a PC or gaming console such as the Oculus and PlayStation VR headset. These headsets are a more pricey option as they are said to include custom display screens and provide top notch quality. Mobile headsets like Google Cardboard and Gear VR are cases that you can put your Smartphone into and by downloading specific apps it will give you the virtual experience. These are much less costly and can be used anywhere such as on a plane, train or out and about. The one downside is that HD isn’t an option and it compromises on quality to an extent.

8. Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality

augmented-reality-vs-virtual-reality

Augmented reality is a popular feature that uses the natural environment you are presently in whilst adding virtual elements on top of it. An example of this can be seen with the Pokémon Go app on smartphones. Virtual reality rather has the user envision that they are in an entirely different setting altogether, this is done via simulations which is what VR headsets are primarily designed for. Not all headsets allow for augmented reality experiences and those that do require a camera function on the outside, which means you will be able to achieve more with a mobile headset.

9. Side Effects

side-effects

Like everything, there are certain negative aspects of using VR headsets which are worth looking into before buying. Some of the most common of these, according to users of VR headsets have been dizzy spells, disorientation and headaches. This is due to the fact that your mind is being tricked into thinking you are moving when in reality your body is static or not moving in the same way. Developers are currently trying to minimise this but for those who experience motion sickness easily, it may never be fully solved and full body simulations are expensive and a long way away.

10. Price Range

price-range

One of the most vital questions regarding VR headsets is how much do they cost? Well for those who are looking for a cheaper alternative than forking out 500 quid or more, the mobile headsets may be more suitable. You can get the Google Cardboard headset for only €10 because your Smartphone is the key for the main experience to happen. There are many mobile sets which you can easily get for under €200 in fact. With the tethered headsets, for games consoles and PC’s they are typically in the bracket of €300-€500 but can stretch to well over €1000.

If you are seriously looking into buying a VR headset for yourself or as a gift, weigh up what you want out of it using the above information and get the best bang for your buck!

Alannah Kenny
Interested in big events and likes to keep up to date with celebrity culture as a personal interest. An avid reader and movie lover, enjoys in depth discussions about anything related to dystopian fiction!

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10 Things You Need to Know About Virtual Reality Headsets
June 12, 2017 (3 Comments) by Alannah Kenny

10-things-you-need-to-know-about-virtual-reality-headsets

Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are taking over the tech world but they aren’t a new innovation. The first VR headset was developed in 1994 followed by Sony’s the Glasstron, but these innovations were ultimately weakened by the limited technology they possessed. The VR headset wasn’t revisited again until 2012 and from there we have seen an epic boom after new revamped designs have emerged. So if you are quietly contemplating what the almighty fuss is about, here are 10 things you should know about VR headsets and whether they’re worth it.

1. Takes Gaming to Another Level

Taking Gaming to Another Level

VR headsets are targeted largely towards but not limited to the gaming community. What you can expect as a gamer varies with the product but usually it will involve wearing a clunky eye-mask, holding a joy-stick in each hand and YOU becoming the controller. Companies like PlayStation 4 have their own versions which differ from versions produced by Samsung that can be used with your Smartphone instead. It has also been a hit among the big YouTube gamers like Markiplier, who have demonstrated games such as Job Simulator using the VR headset.

2. Caters for Movie Lovers

caters-for-movie-lovers

The headsets were designed to allow for many interactive uses and one of them is watching movies. Headsets such as the Oculus Rift or the Samsung Gear VR allow you to purchase an in-built video app in their store that allows you to watch movies on the device along with your own personal videos. Not to mention Netflix content and anything else you could watch on a normal desktop. The experience is said to be profoundly immersive, with the ability to choose the setting you watch in, be it a cinema or yes… the moon! It also lets you make adjustments to the screen to your liking. One downside however; it isn’t too healthy for your eyes so regular breaks are advised.

3. 3D Music Streaming

3d-music-streaming

Music content is also something that is getting the virtual reality treatment. Imagine being able to watch a concert using a VR headset and being immersed as if you were there? Well this is becoming more of a reality thanks to VR programming. In 2014, one of the first experiences of this was when Jaunt VR released its first Google Cardboard app called Paul McCartney. This was a 360 degree full playback of McCartney’s Live and Let Die concert, plus a front row seat which would have cost a fortune in the flesh. The 3D sound-field microphones used to record the concert also provide a sharp audio experience, so travelling may not be a major concern with a plan B like this.

4. Social Media Opportunities

social-media-opportunities

After Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans to buy Oculus, it opened up new opportunities with virtual reality ceasing to just be a solo experience, instead with the ability to connect millions of people. Social Beta is one form of software that Oculus launched. The software enabled people to share a virtual cinema experience with other VR headset users globally, through video streaming apps like Twitch and Vimeo. Similar apps like this are currently in the works, including a virtual avatar that could replace Skype as a means of communication.

5. Business/Education

virtual-surgeon

Aside from all the novelties that a VR headset offers, it is also being used as an educational tool in the workplace. For example, some Universities are now using a Virtual Surgeon programme to help train medical students, by enabling them to conduct and experience operations from a surgeon’s perspective. The Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai hospital is currently looking into using such technology as a means of therapeutic treatment by using the simulations VR headsets provide.

6. Adult Material

adult-material

This is one of the more controversial aspects of the content created for the VR headset but it is important to be aware of, especially if young users are to be considered. The Red Light Centre is currently trying to cash in on the adult entertainment industry with film producers and sex toy manufacturers in support of creating a virtual porn experience. Virtual gambling is also something that is being introduced as potential content for the VR headset experience.

7. Tethered or Mobile?

tethered-or-mobile

Tethered headsets connect to a PC or gaming console such as the Oculus and PlayStation VR headset. These headsets are a more pricey option as they are said to include custom display screens and provide top notch quality. Mobile headsets like Google Cardboard and Gear VR are cases that you can put your Smartphone into and by downloading specific apps it will give you the virtual experience. These are much less costly and can be used anywhere such as on a plane, train or out and about. The one downside is that HD isn’t an option and it compromises on quality to an extent.

8. Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality

augmented-reality-vs-virtual-reality

Augmented reality is a popular feature that uses the natural environment you are presently in whilst adding virtual elements on top of it. An example of this can be seen with the Pokémon Go app on smartphones. Virtual reality rather has the user envision that they are in an entirely different setting altogether, this is done via simulations which is what VR headsets are primarily designed for. Not all headsets allow for augmented reality experiences and those that do require a camera function on the outside, which means you will be able to achieve more with a mobile headset.

9. Side Effects

side-effects

Like everything, there are certain negative aspects of using VR headsets which are worth looking into before buying. Some of the most common of these, according to users of VR headsets have been dizzy spells, disorientation and headaches. This is due to the fact that your mind is being tricked into thinking you are moving when in reality your body is static or not moving in the same way. Developers are currently trying to minimise this but for those who experience motion sickness easily, it may never be fully solved and full body simulations are expensive and a long way away.

10. Price Range

price-range

One of the most vital questions regarding VR headsets is how much do they cost? Well for those who are looking for a cheaper alternative than forking out 500 quid or more, the mobile headsets may be more suitable. You can get the Google Cardboard headset for only €10 because your Smartphone is the key for the main experience to happen. There are many mobile sets which you can easily get for under €200 in fact. With the tethered headsets, for games consoles and PC’s they are typically in the bracket of €300-€500 but can stretch to well over €1000.

If you are seriously looking into buying a VR headset for yourself or as a gift, weigh up what you want out of it using the above information and get the best bang for your buck!

Alannah Kenny
Interested in big events and likes to keep up to date with celebrity culture as a personal interest. An avid reader and movie lover, enjoys in depth discussions about anything related to dystopian fiction!

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