Augmented Reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) use computer-generated graphics to mimic the real world. The difference is that VR replaces the real world completely.
AR, on the other hand, superimposes elements onto the existing world. There are tons of gadgets in the market that help in achieving the best experience. It can get challenging to know which ones to buy because of the number of choices available.
We will share 5 essential things you need for the best experience. You’ll also learn some AR and VR latest news and reviews here.
- Head-Up Displays (HUD)
Weapon system dashboards, pilots, and flight controllers use head-up displays for critical applications. They get all the information from the screens in front of them. It allows for easier control and monitoring of what is happening.
The technology uses collimating projectors or parallel light rays to focus the eyes. A typical HUD has three main components. The viewing glass, which acts as the combiner. The other components are the symbol generator or computer and projector unit.
But now, the display is no longer on a windshield. You will find them on helmets allowing for better efficiency when in use.
- Smart Glasses
Improve your AR experience with smart glasses. These are low-power wearables, which are lightweight and comfortable to use. You have two options available.
The first is optical see-through smart glasses. For AR applications, everything you see is through optical elements. These superimpose graphical overlays on the real world.
It uses holographic waveguides and other graphical systems. Existing examples include Magic Leap One, Google Glass, and Hololens from Microsoft.
The second option is video see-through glasses. For this, the camera captures reality. It then uses computer-generated imagery to create the virtual elements.
To enjoy the immersive VR experience, you need a good pair of headset. You connect it to your computer or mobile phone. For the latter, you need to mount the phone on the front of the headset.
Connecting the VR to the PC gives you a Tethered VR. The visuals come from the graphics card on the PC. It then projects through the Head Mounted Display system.
You have various options when it comes to headsets.
The most popular option is Oculus, a Kickstarter project product. Facebook acquired the company in 2014. You have three options, including Oculus Rift S, Quest, and Go. The amount of storage will determine how much you spend. With the Rift, you will need to connect it to the PC. With Quest, everything is in the headset. The Go is pretty basic in its offering but provides a good entry point.
Other options include HTC Vive, a direct competitor to Oculus. It provides excellent tracking and very sharp images resulting in a fantastic experience.
You can also find brands from Sony and Samsung. The VR cardboard headset from Google is also making waves in the headset industry.
- PC or Smartphone
To access the VR and AR experience, you may need a PC or smartphone. With VR, you have stand-alone options. It means everything you need is on the headset. Once you don the gear, you can start the experience.
An excellent example, in this case, would be the Oculus Quest. For some of the headsets, you must connect them to a gaming PC. The other alternative is to mount a smartphone on the headset.
With augmented reality, all you need is your smartphone with a camera and the right app. You also have the option of tablets if you prefer not to use your mobile phone. Internet connectivity is also critical for the augmented experience. The AR content displays on the screen like a hologram.
Mobile VR requires you to pair your smartphone with a portable VR device. The phone becomes the display and processing unit. You also get other functionalities like head tracking but not positional tracking. That means that the experience you get may feel stationery.
You cannot, for example, move forward and backward. But, you can move your head around. You will need to download the relevant mobile VR app to enjoy the functionalities.
If you prefer not to have the phone in your hand, you can go for headsets like Microsoft Hololens. The device takes the best aspects of AR and VR, resulting in mixed reality.
- Other Accessories
HMD and external sensors allow for the tracking of both head and body movement. It makes it possible to move around in the virtual space.
The best immersive experience comes when you include your other senses. Other than sight, audio, touch, and movement have a significant role to play. Investing in a good pair of headphones gives you the full audio experience.
You can also opt for more discreet earbuds. Some of the latest technologies have inbuilt microphones. They also have volume control and so much more.
Hand controllers allow you to mimic gestures. You can do everything like you would in the natural environment. If you don’t have a controller, a joystick can work just as well.
The other option is to go for sensory gloves. They allow you to achieve 3D finger and hand tracking. For some people, the gloves are more comfortable. The user gets a more natural experience than controllers.
Accessories like treadmills add to the enjoyment of the immersive experience.
Get ready to experience the virtual world with AR or VR. It helps to have the right equipment, and that is what we have highlighted above. There is a lot of variety available in the market.
When shopping, make sure you read customer reviews first. You will find that Oculus ranks quite high with regards to headsets. But, do your research to find out why.
Determine what your preferences are so that it makes it easy to find what you need. Do you, for example, want tethered or untethered headsets?
Many other accessories depending on your personal preferences. Such include sensory masks, valve index controllers, and even cyber shoes.
Finally, ensure that you have the relevant cabling, connectors, and charging devices.