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No longer just a sci-fi dream, virtual reality (VR) headsets are now widely available and surprisingly affordable. Read on to find out how they work and compare the different types available.
VR headsets such as the Samsung Gear or Google Cardboard are also known as head-mounted displays and worn like a pair of goggles. When you place your smartphone in the headset and start viewing images, the dual lenses inside the headset create an illusion of depth.
Other VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive, are connected to PCs and need to be set up before you can use them. With a built-in mic and controllers, and stunning graphics, you'll enjoy an incredible VR experience when you play compatible games and apps. To get the most out of these headsets, use a PC with a good graphics card and processor - a gaming PC would be ideal.
VR headsets track your head movements so your view changes as you move your head, giving you up to a 360° view for a truly immersive experience.
You can enjoy a passive experience where you simply view photos or videos from a fixed perspective, or you can actively interact with the content and control your perspective.
A VR headset can be disorienting at first as the multisensory experience can confuse your brain. For example, you could be white water rafting in a virtual environment while in reality, you’re lounging on a sofa in your living room. Your eyes and body are experiencing different situations, sending mixed signals to your brain which could potentially cause simulator sickness.
There are various VR headsets available today, falling into three main categories.
Experience virtual reality in a simple way with a basic VR headset. The Google Cardboard VR Viewer is one of the most popular VR headsets in this category.
These VR headsets are fitted with adjustable lenses that provide an immersive virtual reality experience. A good example is the Kaiser Baas VR Goggles.
These headsets have sensors to provide a truly immersive virtual reality experience. The HTC Vive falls within this category.