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Augmented and Virtual Reality – Gadgets of the Future

By Elena, Customer Support Specialist at Flat Rock

Last time we took a quick look at Virtual and Augmented Reality systems and their history.

Now, as promised, we bring you a short review of the most popular VR/AR gadgets:

› Google Glass – Smart glasses, designed and developed by the world’s largest and most famous giant – Google. They look a lot like normal glasses, however, the lens is replaced by an optical display. It’s situated just a little over the eye level in order not to disturb and distract the users from their normal activities. The user can film videos and take pictures (using the camera in the glasses), write and send messages, make video and conference calls, translate text, transfer files with the help of a smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The glasses can be used either by voice command or using the touchpad situated on the right side of the head near the temple. Using the touchpad, the user can select options visualized on the screen. However, apart from the positives of using smart glasses there are some negative concerns you should bear in mind. A lot of critics have shared their worries that the glasses are real threat to our personal data and privacy. This is connected with the usage of the device in public places and even more so due of the option to record a conversation at all times without asking people for permission.

› HoloLens by Microsoft – it is known as one of the biggest developments in the AR industry, intended as part of the Windows Holographic platform. HoloLens offers the user the opportunity to access applications via holographic displays in a similar way to Tom Cruise in Minority Report or Robert Downey Junior in Iron Man.  HoloLens are holographic augmented reality smart glasses. A really interesting fact about them is their recently announced new feature – holoportation. Holoportation is a completely new innovation of virtual communication. Via holoportation you will be able to jump into someone else’s reality as a full-sized 3D hologram and you will be able to see and hear that person right in front of you just as if you were in the same room. This can be used for important business meetings when participants are located in different parts of the world as well as just to have a video call with a member of your family who lives far away. The virtual meetings room is equipped with a few 3D cameras so that they can create the exact 3D model of the person you are communicating with. This project is still in development and it is currently in the prototype phase.

› Oculus Rift This product was released earlier this year by the American company Oculus. It’s one of the latest VR headsets released and it has an OLED display for each eye with a 110° field of view. The Oculus Rift consists of a headset loaded with sensors and a pair of integrated headphones. It comes with a camera for additional movement detection and an Xbox one controller. The user of the Oculus Rift needs to have a powerful, high-spec PC that should meet certain technical requirements so that it can smoothly reproduce complicated graphical games and other virtual realities.

› HTC Vive – Another product released earlier this year (on 5th April) by HTC and Valve Corporation. The device has two screens for each eye and more than 70 sensors including MEMS, gyroscope, accelerometer and laser positioning sensors. The HTC Vive set consists of a headset, two controllers for your hands and two lighthouse base stations capable of detecting your movements in the room.  It is really hard to try and describe the feeling one gets when using a headset like HTC Vive – just imagine all of the emotions of being on the top of a castle or in an arcade cabinet fighting spaceships in three dimensions. You get all of the fear, joy, surprise and feeling of wonder from these video games – these are the experiences you can have when using a gadget like HTC Vive.

› Samsung Gear VR – This product offers the user the opportunity to use their compatible mobile device as the display of the headset. The Gear VR unit acts as the controller. It was developed by Samsung in a collaboration with the aforementioned company Oculus. It was released in November 2015. There is an option for users to activate the back camera of their device to allow them to see and still be a part of the surrounding real world.

› Google Cardboard – We cannot skip this interesting and affordable gadget. Unlike all of the above reviewed headsets, Google cardboard is a pair of simple and reasonably priced VR glasses. You could either select and buy the design that you like most or just follow the instructions and make your own cardboard. The parts you need are – a piece of cardboard, 45 mm focal length lenses, magnets, a hook and loop fastener, a rubber band and as an option – NFC (near field communication) tag. Once you have your cardboard ready, insert a smartphone in the back of your creation. The result is a stereoscopic 3D image. Currently, the latest released version in 2015 can fit phones with screens up to 6 inches (150 mm).

› Sulon Q – This wearable head mounted set of glasses turns your existing world and reality into a completely new VR and AR journey. It is expected to change the way people live, play and work, using the power of both augmented and virtual reality elements in a perfect combination. The headset will be tether-free with no wires and no external controllers, “wear and play” is the phrase that the Sulon company likes to emphasize on. That basically means that this new product is actually an AMD-powered PC that you wear on your head. It even comes with pre-installed Windows 10.

Hope you enjoyed our review. In our next post, we will take a look at how AR and VR has changed the landscape of business.

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