How Does Virtual Reality Work? The Ultimate Guide

woman wearing Virtual reality glasses

Though virtual reality, or VR, has existed for quite some time. It’s only recently that it has developed into the technical marvel it is today. From entertainment to the professional world and beyond. VR is actively reshaping the way we interact with the world around us. So we can’t blame you for taking an interest in it. Before getting started with your first virtual reality devices, though, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what makes them tick. Here’s everything you need to know.

How Does VR Work?

Man using and playing with VR glasses

Though the actual mechanics of how VR works fairly complicated. We’re going to try and keep the explanation as quick and simple as possible.

First of all, though, we need to start with a quick science lesson about the brain and eyes. Though our field of vision appears to be a single image. It’s actually the combination of two images, one from each eye. In an instant, your brain processes both images and turns them into a more accurate composite. To simulate this, a VR headset uses two tiny screens, each corresponding to one eye. This allows the headset to create the illusion of depth, which would otherwise be impossible.

Headsets typically also contain motion sensors. These allow them to figure out the direction in which you’re moving and how fast you’re doing so, creating an incredibly lifelike recreation of motion. Essentially, VR technology relies on tricking the brain into thinking it’s still in the real world. Allowing it to immerse users in a way that no other tech can.

Types of VR Technology

Engineer using vr glasses to manufacture gears product with virtual reality

The term VR often used as a catch-all for a wide range of technologies. So it’s important to know which is which. Generally speaking, the many things people describe as VR can be split into three categories: true virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality.

  • True virtual reality constructs an entire virtual world for the user, blocking out the real world in the process. This is generally what people are talking about when they refer to VR. It has seen a recent boom in popularity, especially in the gaming industry.
  • Mixed reality, or MR, allows for the intersection of computer-generated VR and real-world objects. It’s an interesting middle ground between VR and AR, (which we’ll get to in a bit) allowing the user to get fully engage with both the real and virtual worlds. Though not as common as either of its two siblings. Mixed reality is seeing an increased presence in our everyday lives, and its market niche will likely continue to grow.
  • Augmented reality, or AR, adds digital elements to the user’s view, but leaves the real world to take center stage. AR elements, unlike MR, typically don’t interact with the real world. They simply provide more information about it. Because of this, it has a huge number of real-world applications, but loses out to VR and AR in terms of immersiveness.

Cost vs. Immersion

video editor experiencing VR goggles

When it comes to VR, the more money you spend, the more immersive of an experience you’ll get. While you really only need a headset and controllers to get started with VR gaming. For example, you could also pay extra to get additional tools and features like motion sensors that allow for full-body tracking. Though not an absolute necessity, these extra features make for a much more immersive experience. So they’re worth the price if you can afford them. 

The Best Virtual Reality Equipment

Your first VR setup is an investment, so it’s only natural to want to be sure you’ll get your money’s worth. To that end, you’re best off sticking to VR tech and equipment from brands that have already made a name for themselves. While there’s plenty of tech that you can buy from lesser-known brands, VR is fairly complicated and easy for manufacturers to do poorly, so buying from a more reputable company ensures your investment will be worthwhile.

Once you have a few companies to buy from in mind, you’ll need to decide on a budget. As mentioned above, you can go for a much more immersive VR experience if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, but you can also do just fine with a basic headset. Before making any purchases, determine how immersive you want your experience to be, how much you’re willing to spend, and how you plan to balance those two factors. Whether you end up with a basic VR headset with controllers or a full-fledged virtual reality gaming system, we’re sure you’ll enjoy exploring the possibilities that VR tech brings!

Looking for more great tech tips, tricks, and products? Feel free to visit our site at DirectNine today!

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