What is Virtual Reality?

Everyone is talking about Virtual Reality. It is definitely The Next Big Thing. But the million dollar question is what is Virtual Reality to most of the people. We present to you in simplest terms what is virtual reality and how we all can make best use of it. Don’t worry it is not as complicated as it appears.

Since the launch of smartphones, we all have seen various innovations, some new and some just an add-on. After almost a decade, we have a new technology on the horizon that promises to be completely new. Virtual Reality seems to have the potential to revolutionize the technology world as well our interaction with technology.

If that is the kind of potential it has, then what is virtual reality? By now you must have heard about Oculus. If not Oculus then at least the Samsung Gear VR.

 

Virtual Reality as defined by Wikipedia is,

Virtual Reality refers to the computer technology that uses software to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate the real environment.

 

What is VR in common terms or VR for Dummies?

Opinions differ on what is pure VR. However, for us mortals the basic definition should include,

  • Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the perspective of the user
  • The ability to track a user’s motions, particularly his head and eye movements, and correspondingly adjust/display the images on the user’s interface to reflect the change in perspective

So a life sized 360 degree image presenting and processing device, such as a mobile along with a VR Headset should be able to provide you the VR experience.

But hold on…. Is that enough or there is more to it than simply grabbing a smartphone and a VR device? Unfortunately no….

 

VR Compatible Smartphone

vr-phone

 

What you need is a VR compatible phone. Well a VR compatible smartphone takes care of the second point while the VR Headset provides the life-size view of the tiny little 360 degree images coming from mobile.

A VR Compatible phone has to provide an immersive experience to the user. It has to replicate and match the body movement of the user and change the perspective accordingly.

For example, when we are in a room and as we turn around, we see different areas of the room. Similarly, when you have a VR smartphone in a VR Device and you move around, it will make you feel as if you are standing inside the room by changing the view of the room in exact same manner.

What you need to look for in a smartphone are some basic sensors which are key for VR Compatability.

  • Magnetometers – A device which measures the magnetic field and can tell you which direction you are facing with respect to North pole. Magnetometer in a smartphone is used by some VR Headsets to use as a button click.
  • Accelerometer – It tells the smartphone whether you are facing up or down.
  • Gyroscope – Helps the smartphone to understand the orientation at a tiny level.

Check your smartphone for these sensors on GSMArena to find out if it is VR Compatible.

 

VR Headsets/Cardboards/HMD

googlecardboard

 

The next question you may have is where and how to try Virtual Reality?

Well, thanks to the huge investments and rapid innovation in VR, we have options ranging from USD 5 to 800 to try VR. Get a Google Cardboard and a VR compatible Smartphone and you are ready to view Virtual Reality content.

The most important things to look for in a VR headset are as follows,

  • Lens – should be of high quality such as resin coated
  • FoV – or Field of View should be minimum 100 degrees for a better experience.
  • Build – a light weight with right contours to prevent strain to your head as well as for holding the smartphone in the right position.

 

What to view?

There is loads of VR content that is being generated almost daily that can be viewed on Facebook as well as YouTube.

Relevant Read: Top 5 Wildlife VR Videos

Well there are numerous apps but to begin with you can do a simple search of “360 degree videos” on YouTube. From the list open the video and click on the cardboard icon, turn the phone to landscape position and you are good to get yourself immersed in to the world of virtual reality.

Relevant Read: Baahubali-2 Movie in VR

Enjoy and have fun…. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter for all the update on Virtual Reality.

Until next time….!!

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Jitesh

A digital enthusiast, who is amazed by the power of Virtual Reality. Here to share what I read.

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