Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power. Virtual Reality’s most immediately-recognizable component is the head-mounted display (HMD). Human beings are visual creatures, and display technology is often the single biggest difference between immersive Virtual Reality systems and traditional user interfaces. For instance, CAVE automatic virtual environments actively display virtual content onto room-sized screens. While they are fun for people in universities and big labs, consumer and industrial wearables are the wild west.
With a multiplicity of emerging hardware and software options, the future of wearables is unfolding yet unknown. Concepts such as the HTC Vive Pro Eye, Oculus Quest, and Playstation VR are leading the way, but there are also players like Google, Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, and others who may surprise the industry with new levels of immersion and usability. Whoever comes out ahead, the simplicity of buying a helmet-sized device that can work in a living room, office, or factory floor has made HMDs center stage when it comes to Virtual Reality technologies.