New Immersive Tech Series: Displays, VR, and AR

Reality of Knowledge  

Technology is becoming more and more futuristic, including the way we view what we’re doing. Lenses, headsets and other assorted viewing devices offer total or partial immersion in virtual worlds, or at the very least: augmentation of the so-called real world.

Popular displays like the Oculus Rift, the Microsoft HoloLens, the Google Cardboard, and the Samsung GearVR are among the up and coming technology virtual reality devices have to offer.

Oculus Rift: 

  • A bulky headset that allows users to see digital worlds from a 360 degree angle based on how the user turns his or her head. It can be supplemented with the Virtuix Omni to include hands, arms and feet motion for an even more realistic experience
  • It’s impossible to see out of the headset, users are totally immersed in what they are playing—working on or viewing.

Microsoft Hololens:

  • Slightly smaller than the Rift and lighter weight. It also allows the viewer to see their work from various perspectives but is also transparent to the outside world.
  • Provides only partial immersion, depending on what applications are utilized.
  • Augmentation to the world outside instead of blocking the outside world.
  • Runs only in conjunction with Windows 10.

Google Cardboard:

  • Consists of a simple cardboard viewer.
  • Applications on the user’s mobile phone provide the view.
  • Affordable, lightweight, and simplistic.
  • The cheapest virtual reality option that works with a variety of mobile phones.

Samsung GearVR

  • Only works with one Samsung mobile phone: the Samsung Galaxy Note 4
  • The headset is similar to Oculus Rift
  • Provides total immersion
  • Only costs 199 USD

Various Degrees of Virtual Reality 

Whereas Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens are more intensive and have the potential to be used for a lot of business related operations including training and design, the Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR viewers are easily affordable and can provide virtual reality experiences for consumers looking to just stick a toe in the water. They are less bulky than the Rift and more transportable. Though the Samsung GearVR only runs on Galaxy Note 4, more models could be added in the future and it’s already possible to go out and buy the Google cardboard and the GearVR—unlike the Hololens that is only out there as a prototype (that not everyone can get their hands on).

The Rift and the HoloLens are less accessible to start with, but may prove to be more realistic in immersing users. Once they arrive on the market to consumers, it will be interesting to see what applications are picked up. Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR can be tried out now, giving us a taste of what is to come.