Tired Of Wearing Hats? Try Strapping A Computer On Your Forehead
Ever been to a golf game where a semi-dressed 40-year-old man decided to give security personnel and the golf caddies a run for their money? If so, you probably watched the drama unfold at the edge of your seat. Imagine being in his shoes just for the sake of enjoying a virtual world. Strapping on a headgear on your face and walking around will earn you the same crazy looks from seasoned observers.
HMDs or head mounted displays are to virtual reality what Lionel Messi is to Soccer. Without these, the field would hardly be recognizable from all the clowns ready to sell you anything on the internet. The device is just like a television or a computer screen. Notable though is the proximity to your eyes. They have quickly found their way into the army, medicine, and the construction industry. Technology in this area has gone as far as making it possible for one to convey data in real time.
Customers have a lot of options. Sony, HTC Vive, and AMD are staging market wars over who will have the biggest slice of the cake. Clearly there has to be more than meets the eye. The purpose of this article is to show why you should be strutting the next time you wear your headgear.
For headgear presentation is critical. LCD panels and OLED platforms are the most prevalent in the market. Samsung’s rebirth in the smartphone market and the rise of its nemesis Techno have had a big part to play in the size of HMD screen display. Both companies were able to produce gadgets that were quite thin with very high pixel densities. Images got clearer and sharper.
Do you ever catch yourself squinting at your computer screen either because you have been seated in front of the screen all day or something is not quite visible? Well, there could be a solution to that. What if there was a way the image of what you were looking at shows on your retina? Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? This is called retinal projection. HMD of the future will be able to use very tiny mirrors to send images to the screen directly to your retina.
Companies producing HMD’s are working very hard to ensure that you become fully immersed. The approach provides that the virtual experience is very fine tuned. The word to refer to this is called the refresh rate or in other words, how fast the images of your favorite comedy take to appear on the screen. 60 frames per second is the norm in the industry. HMDs are at the 120 mark.
The duration of time that passes to get the food you ordered and the time you get it explains the concept of latency in virtual reality. If the waiter takes too long, then you are no longer hungry so you probably walk out or order something cheaper than you had planned. When the service is top notch, what do you usually do? Of course, you will leave a tip, come back again and even recommend the place to a friend. For HMDs, the period is, at least, 20ms.
A human’s field of vision is very limited. You can either look straight forward, to the side, up or down. Getting a device that can accommodate a wider view means that the illusion becomes even more real. The solution to this has been the setting up of robust lenses in the HMD headset.
Since you will be moving around in a virtual environment, your head will be all over the place. If the computer cannot keep up with this, it won’t know where you are looking. HMDs require the help of a pedestal which rotates about an axis, a multi-axis accelerometer.
Currently, there is only one headset that has been able to trace your eye movement. That headset is the FOVE. Then just like head motion tracking, it uses the details to alter what you see on the screen. Competitors like Sony are offering improved products but for now, FOVE has the clear lead.
FOVE also has a built in interphase that allows for music and video playback. What makes up an HMD… Three components are worth mentioning. Mobile battery powered systems, high definition multimedia Interphase and a Universal Serial Bus(USB). These features furnish the device as both an info receiver and relaying device. Other hardware that’s available or becoming available includes gamepads and multi-directional treadmills.
All of the points above are valid enough to acquire the device but as they say, save the best for last. You might be wondering how does all this come together? How is this so called virtual world created? Well, remember the LCD part, that’s like the stage in a theatrical play. The display shows you similar images which can be slightly altered. You will think that the images fill the frame, but they don’t. Combine that with the rest of the technology mentioned above and voila! You have just entered the virtual world.