How Does Virtual Reality Work?
While each system varies in design, the basic idea is that the technology shows you an image and modifies it as you move. Films made using 3D camera technology are displayed and the virtual reality sets track your eye, head, or body movements using sensors similar in some ways to Kinect technology.
This tricks your brain into thinking you are actually inside a virtual environment. A few available systems simply allow users to slip their iPhones or Androids into them, which then use lenses and mirrors to create a 3D effect. Others come with the visual technology built in. Surround sound audio included in these also creates a more lifelike experience for the user.
Why is Virtual Reality Important?
Virtual reality isn’t just an entertaining way to play games or watch movies (though it is great for that). It can be used in mental and physical therapy as well as student education through virtual field trips, history, and engineering programs. It’s even being considered for use in surgical and emergency response training.
What are the Best Virtual Reality Systems?
Most systems available now are not consumer editions. However, the developer editions, such as the Oculus Rift DK2, still give users an immersive experience. We’ve rated the top systems that are on the market or being released for consumer use soon in the graphics below. Other VR technology that are in the works or may be released in 2016 include the Playstation VR, Microsoft HoloLens, Fove VR, Avegant Glyph, and Razer OSVR.
See our beginner’s guide to the Oculus Rift here.