Types of Virtual Reality Equipment

Types of Virtual Reality Equipment

virtual reality equipment

Types of Virtual Reality Equipment

Virtual reality equipment simulates the sense of physical presence in an artificial world. It can include headsets with stereoscopic displays, motion and pressure sensors, and haptic technology for force feedback.

VR is used for work, training and entertainment. It also has applications in health and medicine. VR may cause some people to feel dizzy or sick.

Headsets

The headset is the heart of any VR setup, a thick pair virtual reality equipment of goggles that sit over your eyes to display virtual images and games. It includes a built-in LED screen and lenses that create stereoscopic views of the same image to give it depth and make it feel real. It also includes eye-tracking sensors and gaming controllers that allow you to interact with the virtual world.

There are a variety of headsets on the market, from cheap ones that connect to your smartphone to expensive tethered versions that require a dedicated gaming PC. Tethered headsets can run more complex games and have higher resolution, but they’re more difficult to set up and require more powerful processors and graphics cards. Standalone headsets like the Meta Quest 2 are easier to get up and running, but they typically have lower resolution and fewer features.

Regardless of which type you choose, most VR headsets need a pair of headphones for immersive audio. These can be standard stereo headphones or specialized models with integrated microphones and speakers to track your hands and body movements, called haptic feedback. Some also have a physical IPD switch to adjust the distance between the lenses, which is important for comfort over long periods of time.

Trackers

There are different types of tracking systems that enable VR devices to interact with the virtual world. Those systems include accelerometers (to detect rotational movement) and sensors that detect translational movement (forward/back, left/right, up/down). Some of these sensors use infrared light to sense the position of the headset or controller and send frames back to a PC for processing. Using those frames, the system can calculate the position of the headset and controllers in relation to the rest of the system. This technology is known as 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) positioning.

Most of the major headsets have built-in cameras that perform inside-out tracking via computer vision algorithms, such as SLAM. This technology works by noticing unique static features in the room and comparing how they move to the head-tracking data from an accelerometer and gyroscope. The resulting system can determine the position of the headset and controllers with high accuracy.

Other tracking technologies are less reliant on sensors and are instead based on direct measurement of the physical position of the user’s body. One example is a sensor called Lighthouse, developed by HTC Vive and Oculus for their untethered VR systems. Lighthouse uses an array of IR photodiodes that are connected to a chip that measures the time it takes for each ray of infrared light to hit each photodiode. The device can then detect the location of the headset by calculating its distance from each photodiode using its coordinates in the room.

Controllers

Controllers are the top VR accessories that let you manipulate your environment with the power of your hands. They are essentially gamepads that have special input sensors that track the movements of your fingers and palm. This technology transforms the motions into electric impulses that are then interpreted as inputs within virtual reality environments.

They can also incorporate haptic feedback into the mix by triggering vibration hardware to simulate sensations in the hand. This is especially useful when you’re squeezing virtual objects. Some haptic gloves like those from Dexmo contain internal “tendons” that mimic the feeling of squeezing a ball, while other haptics solutions such as that from Ultraleap use an array of sensors to transmit weight force data into your hands.

A top-tier controller will support a range of tracking systems, including inside-out tracking (which uses sensors built into the headset) and outside-in tracking (which utilizes external sensors). They can also feature six degrees of freedom to allow you to manipulate the environment with not just movement but also rotation.

There are also special virtual reality camera controllers that can add true depth to your VR virtual reality equipment experience. A light field capture virtual reality camera such as the Lytro Immerge captures the entire volume of an object and recreates 3D images that can be viewed from all sides.

Treadmills

The treadmill is one of the most popular types of exercise equipment in gyms and at home. It is easy to use, allows you to do high-intensity exercises without much risk of injury and can help you burn more calories than walking on the road or using an elliptical machine. However, it may not be as good for your joints as cycling or other types of cardio.

Treadmills typically come with control panels that display information and let you set the speed of the belt, adjust the incline (walking or running at an angle, like going uphill) and choose preset programs for a variety of workouts. These panels usually include emergency stop buttons and “keys” that can attach to the walker or runner so that if they fall, the key will pull a tripper that stops the belt from continuing to rotate.

Many treadmills have LCD screens or LED displays that can show your progress on a map, in distance and in time, along with other important workout information. They also feature heart rate monitoring systems, which usually consist of sensors or grips that you hold to measure your pulse and display your heart rate on the screen. Some treadmills also offer connected fitness programming, such as Peloton or NordicTrack’s iFit, with a free subscription for a certain period of time when you buy the treadmill.