Virtual reality helmet or VR HDM – virtual reality head-mounted display, is an innovative device that lets user go into an artificially created world that does not physically exist. Let’s see what makes us believe that we are in another world.
Modern VR HDM is a helmet in which color displays with a high density of pixels are installed, one for each eye. For the correct and comfortable perception of the image by the user, a lens system is used, so it makes a volume image effect, imitating a picture which makes each eye see an image as the virtual reality physically exists and is in front of the user’s eyes.
All modern virtual reality helmets are universal and suitable for a person with any head shape and almost any visual acuity. This is achieved thanks to the mechanism for adjusting the interpupillary distance and the lenses settlement according to diopters. Helmet straps holding it on the head, also have adjustment. Some helmets support the use of vision correction glasses with them. Such solutions make it comfortable and safe to get into virtual reality for any user. Restrictions exist only for people with severe chronic diseases, such as epilepsy or cardiovascular diseases. In any case, if you have a suspicion that something that you have never done before maybe not good for your health be sure to consult a doctor for advice.
In addition to the optical system the helmet contains a whole group of sensors for recording the slightest head movements. It can be a gyroscope, for measuring orientation angles, an accelerometer, for measuring accelerations in different directions, laser positioning sensors, and some others. One of the reasons for the impossibility of high-quality immersion in the virtual world in the past was the lack of cheap and compact technologies for tracking head movements. To get a person in virtual reality means to “deceive the brain,” which has its own “device” for orientation in space — the vestibular apparatus. It is precisely the correspondence of the change in the angle and position of the point of view in the virtual space to the rotation and movement of the head in reality that allows the brain to perceive the information transmitted by the helmet through vision easily. A person begins to associate himself with his avatar in a more fully way. It is important, both for games, and for the medical software for virtual reality.
The second base element for interaction with the sense organ are the ears. So most of the helmets are equipped with headphones already in factories. The headphones are specially designed to create high-quality surround sound. When the user turns his head or moves it because he hears the sound source in virtual reality, he, hears it in the same way as if he turned his head or moved it in physically real circumstances because of due the difference in sound levels on the right and left earpiece and other techniques. Games and other VR applications in fact do all the same work with sound as the usual programs that simulate three-dimensional spaces. It is worth saying that the requirements for the quality of sound effects and the simulation of movement over the sound sources are higher for virtual reality.
The helmet itself can be a standalone device, independently doing all the calculations for simulating virtual space, such as rendering, calculating the position of objects over each other, physics simulation, etc., as well as a specialized information output device for the computer. In addition, there are helmets without an extensive system, adapting the smartphone to create a virtual reality. Many modern smartphones have the necessary set of sensors for VR, a high-quality display and a headphone jack. Thanks to VR HDM those which
use a smartphone, virtual reality was popularized – they provided basic access to technology for a huge number of people with different financial capabilities: the quality of immersion into virtual reality in this case depended on the capabilities of their mobile smartphone.
But unfortunately, portable helmets have a significant drawback. They are not able to provide the maximum quality of immersion in virtual reality. It is currently impossible to create a helmet with small dimensions and weight, with an acceptable battery life, which has the computing power of a powerful personal computer. A powerful graphics processor and its cooling and power system will not fit in a comfortable size helmet body. But computing power, is needed to run games and applications with complex and photorealistic system of the virtual space. Portable helmets typically have Snapdragon processors or the like, which guarantee performance not much higher than that of smartphones. Despite this, they, like helmets for smartphones, also find users who are not very strict about graphics and who value mobility more than graphics quality.
Smart Body Control Suit costumes by the company Virtual Reality Park Limited help to solve the problem of mobility, completely getting the user free from the wires stretching to the PC, as well as significantly improving the quality thanks to high-precision tracking. This costume combines the Oculus Rift virtual reality helmet and PC with MSI workstation power in an innovative Backpack form factor, which is almost weightless for the user and does not interrupt from the game process. There are sensors that record the movement of parts of the user’s body integrated throughout the suit, forming the new quality of communication with the game avatar. And a distributed network of cameras and computing nodes adds logical completeness, transmitting the user’s movement into the game with sub-centimeter accuracy. Yes, this solution is not cost-effective for home users, but is ideal for virtual reality parks due to the ability to cover any area and any number of players on it. Currently, virtual reality parks using this technology are available in five cities around the world, and funds are being raised to open a larger network in the project of the company, which will cover not only games, but also education and modern art exhibitions.
Now we know the principle of operation of the virtual reality helmet and its device, we can conclude that when choosing a VR HDM
you should pay attention to the method of its application. If the goal is just to try the technologists and there is a suitable smartphone, then it is enough to buy Google’s Cardboard, some models of which are cheaper than $ 10. If you would like to get more, but you appreciate mobility, then you should choose the more expensive standalone helmets. Those who have high demands on the quality of graphics may choose helmets with connection to a PC or game console. When choosing a particular model of plug-in helmet, you need to pay attention to such screen characteristics as pixel density and refresh rate. It is advisable to read the user reviews about their feelings when using – some models caused motion sickness more often than others, having almost no such side effect. In the case of standalone type helmets, it is also necessary not to forget about its’ system: the performance of the integrated CPU and graphics adapter determines the the maximum of games’ quality and the period during which the helmet will be relevant. Well, if you don’t want to make compromises between graphics quality and mobility, then VR parks using tracking technology and costumes by the company Virtual Reality Park Limited will help you to get the most out of immersion in virtual worlds.