BEST VR HEADSETS – LOOKING AT VIRTUAL REALITY
Man has been pondering on Reality, ever since he first realized he was gifted with Consciousness. Sages have meditated on Reality and imbued it with mystical qualities. Religions have proclaimed it as an illusion, or “Maya”, or, at its other extreme, the Only Truth. Alchemists in the ‘Middle Ages’ have considered Reality as transmutable, but, until the Nineteenth Century, Scientists have considered Reality as immutable. In the Arts, the aim has always been to copy Reality, and Engineering with its sister Architecture has always based itself solidly on Reality. Reality has been defined as the totality of a system, known and unknown, in physical terms. It is existent, it can exist without the presence of the observer, and it does not belong to the world of the imagined or dreamed, or even visions. But “Virtual Reality” is a concept that has haunted mankind since the early days.
VR, or “Virtual Reality”, is the simulation of Reality by the use of modern technology. Reality itself has seemed ever far away, what with the concepts of the Real as proposed by the latest scientific theories, like the String Theory, The Big Bang and The Expanding Universe. But a near-perfect copy of Reality has been looming ever closer, what with progress in the latest electronic and optical gadgetry, coupled with extreme miniaturization.
The market is now full of optoelectronic wearable, in the form of Headsets, all claiming to gift the buyer with VR. But sadly, only a few make the cut. Sensorama was invented in 1957 but was not patented until 1962. This consisted of a viewing screen within an enclosed booth displaying stereoscopic dynamic images. Since then, VR Headsets have improved gradually, with each leap of scientific advancement, until the present day. This is, therefore, a study of the Best VR Headsets on the market at present, with a review of their most attractive features.
Dreams of Reality
A VR (Virtual Reality) Headset is an Optoelectronic device mounted over the eyes, generally secured with a belt, which simulates reality for the Wearer. Apart from general entertainment, VR Headsets are used for Medical and Psychosomatic Therapy, for Education, for Video or combined Video Audio Gaming, for Scientific Research, as Reality Simulators, for Training and many other applications. This is a pseudo-reality, however lifelike it may seem, and may have no relation at all with the actual surroundings or environment of the Wearer. Sometimes Traumatic Events are recreated for Patients, as Therapy. VR Headsets can provide a safe and controlled environment for patients suffering from anxiety and fears, phobias and depression. When used for Gaming, Video is sent from the Console, PC or mobile handheld device like a Smartphone, to the VR Headset. Of course the area of VR that can’t be ignored is adult entertainment and adult content. Of course pornography is a large interest, but adult platforms like Local Sex App have chosen to use VR technology to focus on peer to peer interaction for “virtual casual sex” taking a very innovative approach when compared to other top hookup sites. Of course VR lends itself naturally to gaming so the emergence of adult erotic gaming has spread to the VR space as well. The VR Headsets use two LCD displays (one for each eye) or two feeds sent to one display to create a lifelike illusion of Reality for the Wearer.
When Reality Knocks
Virtual Reality comes in two types: Fully Immersive and Non-immersive. Medical Treatment of mentally affected Patients often uses Fully Immersive VR, in order to use the Unconscious mental state to affect the cure. On the other hand, VR Flight simulators are Non-immersive, to allow the Trainees to communicate with their Trainers while receiving VR Training. Other subsidiary types are AR (Augmented Reality), CR (Collaborative Reality), and WR (Web-based Reality). Some of the benefits of VRT (Virtual Reality Training) are as follows:
- Realistic Scenarios, at little or No Risks.
- Safe and Controlled Area.
- Can be Remote Controlled, thus saving time and money.
- Simplifies complex problems and situations.
- Different Learning Styles can be accommodated, with excellent retention and recall.
- Innovative and Entertaining
The Market Spread
Virtual Reality Headsets dominate today’s markets. Some of the Best are as follows (classified by Manufacturer):
- OCULUS Brand provides some of the very Best VR Headsets. The Flagship Product is the OCULUS QUEST. A mid-priced device at around US$ 400, it has a tracking self contained and 6 Degree of Freedom (DoF) motion controls, complete with vibration along with finger movement tracking used on the OCULUS RIFT for PC gaming. Extremely high Resolution, large touch controller, wireless, self-contained and very comfortable design overcomes its limited App library (at present, but growing) and non-compatibility with larger mobile / Windows ecosystems. The OCULUS RIFT S is an install PC set, with 1280 X 1440 per eye VR display, room track which is self-containing vide 5 cameras studded in the Headset, making sensors or external cameras redundant. OCULUS GO is a fine, basic, sitting-still Device with a sharp and convincing display, at only about US$ 200 a unit.
- VALVE INDEX is an amazing PC controller, with “knuckle” (pressure –sensitive) controllers which track all the five fingers. Superb Audio and wide view come with a refresh rate of 144, 120, 90 and 80 Hz. This device works well with hardware Vive, which reduces setup costs sharply since this device is quite expensive, tethering cable and requires the setup of a room.
- HP REVERB is easily the best work Headset. These sets, which are designed by Microsoft, use WMR headsets (Windows Mixed Reality) using tracking inside-out and don’t need camera sensors. Prices start at only about US$ 200, but the REVERB (priced around US$ 650) has a powerful resolution of 2160 X 2160 per eye, a 90 Hz refresh rate and is very comfortable on the eye.
- HTC VIVE is STEAM VR compatibility, and facilitates with library as VIVE and is in the same price class.
The Future looks very bright for VR Headsets. The market is expected to reach US$ 38.7 Billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 41.0% from 2019 to 2024. The main focus areas of Virtual Reality content will be sports, gaming, and entertainment. Demand will keep growing for Health Care, and Retail Services. Military applications are also growing rapidly, and may even overtake other prized areas. The introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence) incorporated VR Headsets look poised in fact to overtake all other applications. The Best VR Headsets are yet to come.