How virtual reality headset works

There are different types and brands of virtual reality headsets that work on different platforms like PC, mobile phones and console. Though they work on different types of platforms, they have one similar function; to give its users a three-dimensional computer generated environment experience as if they are in the real world. Unlike watching in a television, virtual headset creates what seems to be a life-size 3D environment without any boundaries. Whatever way you look or go, the screen projected on your face follows.

VR headsets can be connected to PC and consoles, and can also work standalone using smartphones. When using into PC and consoles, the headset input is required to be connected directly to the device. A video is sent from a console or a computer to the headset via HDMI cable.

VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and Playstation VR are often referred to as HMDs or head mounted displays. These can be used even without audio or hand tracking and Google Cupboard is enough to make a user immerse into virtual reality. Unlike in the headset for PC and consoles, the videos for smartphone VR headsets are already on the phone. A usual VR headset comes with two lenses, one per eye, or two feeds sent to one display. There are also VR headset lenses that are placed between your eyes and the pixels. Some of these headsets can be adjusted to match the distance between your eyes. When these lenses focus and reshape pictures, they create 3D images.

When you are wearing VR headset, it tracks the way your head moves. When you shift your head, the images in the headset also shift depending on your head’s angle. This is possible because of the system called 6DoF, six degrees of freedom. This system plots the X, Y and Z axis of your head to measure your head movements. There are also other advance technologies used in different brands of VR headsets. Like for instance, the Sony’s PSVR which uses nine LEDs dotted around the headset to provide 360 degree head tracking.


Motion tracking, on the other hand, uses infrared sensor to track hand movements. While in the case of whole body tracking, a system that involves two base stations around the room sweeps the area with lasers. This system detects the exact position of the user. But there are also input methods that can be used together with the VR headset. This includes joysticks, controllers, voice control and smart gloves to name some. There are more immerging technologies that VR enthusiasts should be watch out for.

Eye tracking is something that is not available to all VR headsets. An infrared motion sensor for the eyes is the key system to eye tracking. This system knows where your eyes are looking in the virtual reality. The catch of this technology is that it allows the user have a depth view of the 3D environment.


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