Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My First Day with VR (Virtual Reality) Head Sets

                           Many people in India might have not  heard of this word Virtual Reality (VR), in fact I was one of them, until Lenevo released its most awaited smart phone of the year, Lenovo K4 Note with ANT VR headsets. I was not able to purchase the bundle offer which comes with Lenovo K4 Note and  ANT VR headset, due to non availability during its first flash sale in India. So I was looking for an alternate inexpensive VR headset on Amazon.in where I found this product PROCUS, an Indian VR headset company from Chandigarh as its website says. But looking at the product anyone can make out that its an Chines imported product.

                       Virtual reality is an immersive experience in which your head movements are tracked in a three dimensional world, making it suited to games and even movies. When you strap on a VR headset, you’re immediately in the new digital world. The visuals sell the sensation, but sound is what makes it stick.

                    After placing my order on Amazon.in I downloaded few 3D movies like RIO 2, 300 rise of an empire etc., and I must say the experience was awesome as a first time VR user along with Dolby Atmos surround sound. Although you must have watched many 3D movies in your cinema theater, but with a low cost  device such as  Google cardboard or the one which I am using you can experience  the same effect in your house including 3D content. Now you can forget traveling to multiplexes, parking hassles, costly tickets, long queues. At a fraction of the cost enjoy at your home and at your convenient time with better viewing quality.

                 While buying inexpensive VR headsets make a note that it should accommodate 3.5 inch to 6 inch size phones.  It should have a IPD (Inter Pupillary Distance) adjustable knob which is very crucial for having a good VR experience else you will face doubled images or crossing eyes or any sort of stress. It should also include focal length adjustment knob to change the distance between the phone and the screen as well as focus adjusting knobs around the lens to cater to people who use spectacles. A VR headset should have space to allow more ventilation to avoid heating of your phone kept inside. There should be slits on the side for connecting chargers if in case your battery drains out and a headphone or an OTG controller if required. The FOV (Filed of view)  should not be less than 90 degree.  A magnetic switch, or a foam based one, or a controller will be an added advantage where you can control your phone without having to remove from the VR set. But for this the phone should have sensors such as Magnetic sensor and Gyroscope sensor.

                         The current lineup of VR products run in terms of price and accessibility.  You can get your feet wet with Google’s product (named Cardboard).  Cardboard is very inexpensive, for any where from Rs.150 to Rs.1000 you can get a Cardboard compatible headset that will house your smartphone for VR. It uses easy to obtain components like cardboard, biconvex lenses, a couple of magnets, Velcro, and a rubber band. You assemble it all yourself, following Google’s step-by-step instructions with pictures.

                    After assembling and to experience  a whole new world just you need to download cardboard app from  Google store which is free and you can try various free apps and games.  Must have a mobile with good HD quality display, memory capacity and battery life. It is advisable to have a phone with gyro for 3D and 360 viewing features or playing games.

But what are the best VR headsets and which one should you choose?  I have  listed some of the top VR headsets available. Make use of the details and experience the whole new Virtual Reality world. If you like it please feel free to comment and share your ideas.

   Oculus Rift
   Sony PlayStation VR
   HTC Vive
   Samsung Gear VR
   Microsoft Holo Lens
   Zeiss VR One
   Google Card Board.