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Virtual Reality Concepts in Technology

Updated December 28, 2021
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Virtual Reality Concepts in Technology essay

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When it comes to virtual reality (VR), there is a wide variety of devices for use. When doing VR research, it tends to get very expensive. Researchers are constantly looking for cost efficient ways of doing research with different VR devices.

Two of the top ranked VR devices are the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Amongst these two, the reader will gain insight on different characteristics that set these two devices apart and on the chemistry that bonds them together.

The HTC Vive, is a VR collaborated product made by High Tech Computer (HTC) and Valve Corporation. It was debuted march 2015, at HTC’s Mobile Congress Keynote Address. The Vive consists of four different components: Headset, controllers, Base Stations, and Tracker.

A refresh rate is included within the headset. A Refresh rate is the frequency of an image on a computer screen refresh, of 90 Hz with a 110 degree field of view. The headset includes a camera that can sense in motion or static based objects within the play area. Static based objects are defined in a program’s source code. Within the outer layer of the headset are infrared (IR) sensors which are synchronized to mounted base stations on opposite sides of the room, G-Sensor, gyroscope, and proximity sensor. The device also includes a screen resolution of 1080 x 1200 pixels per screen.

Second on the list of components are the Vive Controllers. These controllers feature many input methods, which includes a trackpad, grip buttons, and a dual-stage trigger. Each controller holds up to about six hours of battery life. Aligned along the front of the controllers there are 24 IR sensors used to synchronize to the base stations to pinpoint the position of the controllers. SteamVR Tracking is a software program that is used to track the controller’s location to a fraction of a millimeter, having uprate rates ranging from 250 Hz to 1 kHz.

Third in the running is the Tracker. The Tracker is where the motion tracking actually happens. This device tracks via the Lighthouse system. The lighthouse system is a positional tracker that uses lasers. Trackers include a connector piece used for communication with a plugged in secondary device.

Along with any VR device, there is computer software designed alongside with to make the device in order for it to work and perform accurate research.

Epic Games is an American owned video game and software development company. The company was found by Tim Sweeney, under Potomac Computer Systems in 199. Currently stationed in Cary, North Carolina, announced their support on April 30, 2015 for the software program, SteamVR technology. With their support, it allowed developers to create VR projects with Unreal Engine 4 for the HTC Vive. Unreal Engine 4 is a development software program used when working with real time technology.

In the two years that the Vive has been introduced to the world, it is considered great tracking device, but a bit on the expensive side. The Vive sale in stores for about $499 USD, compared to the Oculus Rift.

There are pros and cons about the HTC Vive. According to research, the Vive review on www.tomshardware.com some pros are ‘The device has incomparable experience, 6DoF (Degrees of freedom) controllers, room-scale tracking, comfort, and intuitive interface”. [1]

In contrast to the Oculus Rift, room tracking is slightly smoother and has sensors that can be plugged into a wall outlet instead of a USB port. (www.quora.com) According to www.goodvrguide.com, ‘The HTC Vive is one of the most sophisticated virtual reality headsets available at the moment, earning a 5-star review from TechRadar.” [7]

Just like pros, this device has cons as well. Some cons about the Vive are coming from the same source as the pros. According to www.goodvrguide.com,

“Among the downsides of the HTC Vive VR headset, tech lovers mention the setup. You need no less than five power outlets and more than an hour to download and install software and games. You also need time to set up the playing area, controllers and the headset. For this reason, the Vive gets 4.5 stars from Trustedreviews.”[3]

In some research, the headset can get uncomfortable if worn for an extended time. When it comes to the Vive, as the reader can see, the device has more pros and then cons.

The first VR headset released by Oculus VR was the Rift CV1. Palmer Luckey, one of Oculus’ founders, thought of a more effective and cost efficient head-mounted display (HMD) that would be better suited for gamers and researchers. Unlike the Vive, the Oculus Rift started out as a “Kickstarter” campaign to make more headsets available for developers. Kickstarter is a public based corporation in Brooklyn, New York. Compared to the Vive, the Oculus Rift went thru many prototypes in order to get the device up and running. In contrast to the Vive, the Rift has with fewer components.

Many users praise the Oculus Rift because of its simpler setup. In order to use the Touch controllers with the Rift, the user will need a minimum play area that exceeds three by three feet. In order for the best experience with certain content, the user should use a play area with a minimum of seven by five feet. Looking into the Rift, the reader will gain helpful knowledge and information on the three different parts that make it up the Rift.

The Rift contains two controllers, one sensor, and two AA batteries. The Touch controllers run about $199. According to Oculus Rift Review: Worth the Hype, Sherri L. Smith stated, “The controllers have an elegant, lightweight design, a large library of games, and is easy to use.” [8] On another note about the controllers, some cons are they have a small play area and no room scale. Unlike the Vive, built inside the controllers are sensors used for gaming. The user gyroscope accelerometer would need a space of at least “4.9 by 4.9 foot room in order to room scale using two sensors and an 8.2 by 8.2 feet room for a three-sensor setup.” (Par 7)

Lastly, there is the headset having a resolution images, in each lens inside the headset, of 1080 x 1200 pixels. According to Oculus Rift Review, Nick Pino stated, “

When paired with the proper hardware, the Oculus Rift is far superior to PlayStation VR, and light years ahead of Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, both of which only rely on the power of your cell phone to gaze into the plane of virtual reality.” (Par 13)

According to research, one significant difference is that unlike the HTC Vive needing SteamVR in order to properly work, the Oculus Rift only requires a high-end computer that is capable of VR gaming and research. Moving on from the different parts of the Rift to the advantages and disadvantages users have about the device. According to www.techspot.com, users of the Oculus Rift said this about the advantages, the device has “Strong support for both sitting and standing experiences, better and sturdier design than predecessors, built-in 3-D audio which makes the VR experiences that much more riveting, it is capable of fully immersing you in virtual worlds, functional platform with a wide selection of available games, excellent quality of the headset, intuitive interface, lightweight headset, large tracking volume, and feels satisfying.”[6]

Some of the listed disadvantages are that it, “Requires a powerful gaming PC, can’t install games from headset, slight sound leakage from headphones, Xbox controller is a stopgap solution at best, no pass-through camera, many of the coolest-looking games aren’t here yet, no motion controller at launch, expensive, and especially with gaming PC cost figured in.” Pass-through camera mode allows the user to view surroundings at a camera’s perspective.

Despite the many differences between the Vive and Rift, there are also a number of similarities between the two.

In comparison, Evan Kypreos compared both devices in the article “Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive: Which is the Best?, under a different topic. When considering the controllers, both contain a 360-degree, three dimensional environments. Both headsets contain a 1080 x 1200 pixel image resolution in each lens of the headset. [4] According to Jon Martindale in his article “Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive”, “Both devices utilize adjustable Velcro straps and comfortable padding on the interior faceplate. Both models accommodate glasses (though with some added discomfort) and connect via USB and HDMI to your PC.”[5] Coinciding with the resolution as stated above, both headsets come with vibrant OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays, 110-degree FOV (field of view), and they both display virtual grids at the end of the play space to prevent incidents.

In conclusion, these two devices have many differences and similarities. These devices are highly known and are the most compared devices by gamers and researchers. Recapitulating of the information, the HTC Vive is a high tech researching system used for many different purposes. The Vive in some eyes is better than the Rift when it comes to gaming, and vice versa. The Oculus Rift, although lighter in capacity, has more components that are included in the packaging. Both devices are capable of many different things as described above. As the conclusion ends, users should know gamers lean more towards the Rift other than the Vive. Researchers prefer the Vive over the Rift for research purposes.

Works Cited

  1. Carbotte, Kevin. “The HTC Vive Review.” Tom’s Hardware, Tom’s Hardware, 5 Apr. 2016, www.tomshardware.com/reviews/htc-vive-virtual-reality-hmd,4519.html.
  2. Dal1Dal. “The Magic of the Internet.” Imgur, 29 Apr. 2018, imgur.com/a/PxPBoey.
  3. “HTC Vive VR Headset Reviews, Pros & Cons, Best Places to Buy & Info.” Good VR Guide, 28 May 2018, www.goodvrguide.com/htc-vive-vr-headset/.
  4. Kypreos, Evan. “Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive: Which Is the Best?” Trusted Reviews, Trusted Reviews, 25 July 2018, www.trustedreviews.com/opinion/oculus-rift-vs-htc-vive-2934282.
  5. Martindale, Jon. “Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices Drop, but Our Favorite Stays the Same.” Digital Trends, Digital Trends, 17 Dec. 2018, www.digitaltrends.com/virtual-reality/oculus-rift-vs-htc-vive/.
  6. “Oculus Rift.” TechSpot, TechSpot, www.techspot.com/products/audio-video/oculus-rift.131668/.
  7. Pino, Nick. “Oculus Rift Review.” TechRadar, TechRadar the Source for Tech Buying Advice, 1 Nov. 2018, www.techradar.com/reviews/gaming/gaming-accessories/oculus-rift-1123963/review.
  8. Smith, Sherri L. “Oculus Rift Review: Worth the Hype.” Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Guide, 26 Sept. 2018, www.tomsguide.com/us/oculus-rift,review-3493.html.
Virtual Reality Concepts in Technology essay

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