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Virtual Reality: VR Headsets

This guide give you information on Virtual Reality services provided by the Radcliffe Science Library, along with links to helpful Virtual Reality viewing and capturing resources and tips.

Glossary of Terms

VR - Virtual Reality

HMD - Head Mounted Display

Latency - Latency in VR refers to the time it takes for the computer to render an image and for that image to appear on the HMD. This needs to be as low as possible so when you turn your head quickly the image displayed will be at the same speed. If it's too slow then the image lags behind your movement and it can make you feel sick.

OLED - Organic Light-Emitting Diode. This refers to the display technology used for the screens.

IPD - Interpupillary distance (IPD) is the distance between the center of the pupils of the two eyes. IPD is critical for the design of binocular viewing systems, where both eyepupils need to be positioned within the exit pupils of the viewing system. If your IPD isn't set correctly it can create eye strain.

Frame Rate/FPS - Frames Per Second. The frequency at which frames in a television picture, film, or video sequence are displayed. For VR, the optimal frame rate recommend by Oculus and HTC is 90fps. As a comparison, film and TV run at 24fps.

What is 'Presence'?

"Immersion into virtual reality is a perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. The perception is created by surrounding the user of the VR system in images, sound or other stimuli that provide an engrossing total environment." -  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immersion_(virtual_reality)

Books on Virtual Reality

Gear VR



Image from: https://www.oculus.com/press-kit/identity/ 

Description: This HMD (Head mounted display) is a entry level product with better optics, comfort and all round experience than the Google Cardboard design. It is only designed for Samsung Galaxy phones but this means it will provide an optimal mobile VR experience with low latency and better head tracking. 

Price: £80

Requirements: Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge

Manufacturer: Samsung (Powered by Oculus)

Positional Tracking: None

Controls: Buttons on the side of the Headset or you can use a third party Bluetooth controller.

Google Cardboard


Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12452841@N00/14519574116

Description: This HMD (Head mounted display) is the lowest entry VR mobile product you can buy. Although providing a cheap and simple introduction to VR, the Google Cardboard experience isn't well optimized which can lead to eye strain and motion sickness. 

Price: £5

Requirements: Any 5" or bigger smartphone

Manufacturer: Google

Positional Tracking: None

Controls: You can use a third party Bluetooth controller.

Google Daydream


Image from: https://vr.google.com/daydream/

Description: This HMD (Head mounted display) is a entry level product with better optics, comfort and all round experience than the Google Cardboard design. It is only designed for 'Daydream Ready' phones but this means it will provide an optimal mobile VR experience with low latency and better head tracking. Parts of the headset are made out of fabric to make it lightweight and more comfortable. The faceplate is removable so it can be washed.

Price: £69

Requirements: Daydream Ready phone - Google Pixel

Manufacturer: Google

Positional Tracking: None

Controls: Daydream Controller with basic motion actions. 

Oculus Rift


Image from: https://www.oculus.com/press-kit/identity/ 

Description: This HMD (Head mounted display) in the high end of VR headsets and needs a PC to work. It uses two OLED displays that move to adjust your IPD for a perfect match for you vision. In combination with custom lens, high frame rates, positional tracking and very low latency it is one of the most advanced consumer VR experiences you can currently have. Parts of the headset are made out of fabric to make it lightweight and more comfortable.

Price: £549

Requirements:  'Oculus Ready PC' or the following computer system: 

  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output Compatible: HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
 

Manufacturer: Oculus

Positional Tracking: Yes
Room Scale Tracking: Yes, if you buy an extra sensor.

Controls: Xbox Controller, Oculus Remote and Oculus Touch(motion controllers that will be released in December.)

HTC Vive


Image from: https://www.htc.com/us/go/press-image-gallery/

Description: This HMD (Head mounted display) in the high end of VR headsets and needs a PC. It uses two OLED displays that move to adjust your IPD for a perfect match for you vision. In combination with fresnel lenses, high frame rates, positional tracking and very low latency it is one of the most advanced consumer VR experiences you can currently have.

Price: £759

Requirements:  The following computer system: 

  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or better
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-4590/AMD FX™ 8350 equivalent or better
  • RAM: 4 GB or more
  • Video output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB port: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
  • Operating system: Windows® 7 SP1, Windows® 8.1 or later, Windows® 10
 

Manufacturer: HTC (Powered by Steam)

Positional Tracking: Yes
Room Scale Tracking: Yes, out of the box

Controls: Motion Controllers

PlayStation VR


Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/officialgdc/13298950305

Description: This HMD (Head mounted display) is a mid level VR headset. It is a good option for gamers who want to get into VR, especially if they already own a Playstation 4 console. 

Price: £350

Requirements:  Playstation 4

Manufacturer: Sony

Positional Tracking: Yes
Room Scale Tracking: No

Controls: PS4 Controller, Playstation Move Motion Controllers

Positional Tracking

Positional Tracking add a whole new layer of immersion to VR by tracking every movement of your headset. This means you can lean forward, walk around or even lay down on the floor and it will always track your position by using external cameras or sensors. Positional tracking is only currently available on the higher end headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR.

Motion Controllers

Motion Controllers bring your hands into VR and can add a lot of 'presence' to your experience. It also adds natural interactions with the virtual environment without having to use a gamepad, mouse and keyboard etc.Currently the only HMDs to support motion controllers are the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift(Released end of 2016.) and Playstation VR.

Examples of Motion Controllers:

HTC Vive

Oculus Touch

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to discuss using the service, feel free to contact us at newtech.rsl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.