In recent years, Virtual Reality (VR) has been a trendy high-tech term that all of us have heard of. There have been ample products for VR headsets as well as other relevant accessories available in the market aiming to bring us to the virtual world. So what is VR? Its name provides hints. VR stimulates a virtual environment that gives us a first person experience in the whole new world.
How VR works and How it feels?
Sophisticated as its name sounds, VR technology uses professional softwares and powerful hardwares to create a 3 dimensional visual environment that allows user to interact. Just like the real world, while users are moving their head, the view where they stare at will be reflected simultaneously. By wearing a VR headset and using controllers, we can completely immerse our hearing, sight and touch senses into the virtual world, enjoying an unprecedentedly real experience.
VR is most suitable for highly interactive games such as shooting game. Players will be “sent” to the battlefield. Seeing enemies in front of them while hearing the gun sound, players use their “machine gun” to fight back, which will vibrate whenever they shoot. It always comes to a same situation in the real world where they are standing at. Unstoppable screaming is definitely the result of highly realistic experience of the battlefield.
The VR headsets
Whenever we think about the intangible VR technology, most of us will come up to an image of a tangible VR headset. The appearance of it is always like a black rectangular box with 2 circle screens inside. It is designed to isolate users from the real world and allow them to solely focus on the screens.
There are 2 different categories of VR headsets based on where the virtual image is from. Larger one with internal battery is designed to work with PC to run VR applications. An example is the PlayStation VR. Its smaller friend can be conceptualized as a box which allows you to place your smartphone inside. It works by keeping a right constant distance between your smartphone and you. While display on your phone will be divided into 2 images, one on the left and another seemingly duplicated image on the right. The perfect distance between you and the images will allow you to see a 3D view. Since the latter headset is much more simple, its cost is inexpensive, ranging from a hundred dollars to $15 for Google Cardboard.
What makes a good VR headset?
Just like their price, the quality of VR headsets varies a lot. Here are some features that help select a good VR headset.
Display is the source of signal which eventually enters your eye and forms the virtual environment. If we want a high image quality, selecting a display with high resolution such as OLED screen is the first step. The display quality often differentiates the price of different VR headsets.
2. Frame rates
Frame rates can be conceptualized as number of frames appear on the screen per second. This factor is of paramount importance to your health. The lower the rate, the easier a user can feel discomfort such as nausea. A rate below 90 frames per second is likely to cause such adverse effects.
3. Field of view
The field of view (FOV) represents the observable environment at anytime. As FOV of 3D image in human eye is around 115 degree, a low FOV of the VR headsets will limit the visible landscape ahead, affecting the quality of VR environment. However, there’s another perspective that narrow vision helps concentrate on the front. Which one is preferred is totally subjective.
Health precaution for using VR headsets
While VR provides immersive virtual experience, users should take note to the potential health risks inherited. Even though high quality VR headset is used, prolonged use will cause negative health effects especially for your eyes because of the intense concentration. As young children are in the period of rapid eye development, to protect them, preventing them from using it is a prudent decision.
Apart from impact on eyes, the VR is so immersive that blocks our view of actual surrounding. Users have to ensure that their surrounding is free of danger and preferably remain seated while experiencing the virtual world.
VR offers unprecedented experiences for us. A VR headset with high quality definitely improves our experience. After all, while enjoying the pleasure from the new world, we should be cautious about potential health effects in the real world.