Virtual Reality is a technology that shows the user an interactive computer-generated image replacing their view of the real world. This is achieved through the use of a head mounted display (HMD)
Often confused with...
AR (Augmented Reality) - where the computer superimposes an image over the user's real world view and is typically displayed on a phone, smartglasses or projector.
MR (Mixed Reality) - AR and MR are often used loosely for the same thing. Originally, AR was not aware of the surroundings, and MR allowed programmers to lock graphics to objects, or obscure them. However, as AR is developing further, the boundaries are really blurring and the terms are typically interchangeable.
360 video - movie files that capture the entire scene around the camera and allow a user to change their viewpoint whilst watching, but do not offer interaction.
How it's done
Using a combination of sensors and cameras, the user's viewpoint, location and movement are tracked and the computer generates the complete scene accordingly. The entire world view is replaced by the computer generated scene.
Mobile phone-based options are the most basic implementation. They are lower fidelity, do not offer positional motion tracking (leaning/movement) and have no controllers for interaction.
PC-based options require powerful hardware, but offer a higher resolution, lower lag, positional tracking (including room-scale that allows for tracking the user in a large play space) and controllers for interacting with the VR experience.
Who is doing it ?
Mobile phone-based options include the popular Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard and Google Daydream.
PC-based options include the Vive co-developed by Valve and HTC, the Oculus Rift, the Razer OSVR, StarVR and FOVE.
Lastly, Sony have the Playstation VR which plugs into the PS4.
What are the applications ?
Interactive Movie experiences
Advertising, marketing, promotion
Sport; spectators, sport-science
Travel, hospitality, leisure
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