Virtual Reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two emerging technologies that have the potential to change the way we do things in our daily lives.
VR is a computer-generated simulation of an environment, while AR overlays digital information on top of real world environments. These two technologies are already being used for everything from video games to therapy, but their uses could expand even further with time.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two immersive technologies that could change the world.
Experience with virtual reality is said to be like lucid dreaming, in which you get an experience close to the real thing. Currently, though, virtual reality has a lot of issues regarding comfort over long periods of time; one other issue is that the computers required for these experiences are big and bulky.
Augmented Reality is the integration of digital information into real world environments using HUDs (Heads Up Displays). There are several different types of AR, but the most commonly used one at the moment is HUD-based Augmented Reality.
For example, Pokémon GO! forces players to look down towards their phone screen in order to see various aspects of gameplay instead of directly at their surroundings. There’s also Hololens , which allows users to play Minecraft on their bedroom floor or paint/build 3D objects over a desk.
The problem with augmented reality right now is that devices like Microsoft HoloLens cost an upwards of $3000, making it much less accessible for people who would benefit from using it the most – students.
Experience with augmented reality is like having access to all of human knowledge in front of your eyes.
Both virtual and augmented reality technologies are used for all sorts of things, from entertainment (video games, movies) to education (virtual classroom, encyclopedia), but there could be even more potential.
For example, simulations created for training purposes could benefit from Virtual Reality in order to create an experience as close to the real thing as possible; this would allow companies/organizations/etc. to save money on costly equipment or dangerous training scenarios.
I tested my HTC Vive using a watt meter and my PC using HWMonitor.
Using these numbers, I can calculate how much power is used while the headset is on. It should be noted that this is because of the difference in the way watts are measured.
Watts for electricity are actually a rate of voltage divided by current while watts for heat are just current being passed through a resistor multiplied by the voltage across it (Ohm’s Law).
Headsets don’t have resistors so this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get hot because of their energy usage but it could cause other problems which will be covered later. Also note that watt meters measure both AC and DC power. This means you need to add the power from when you plug in your headset to the measurements.
This is a watt meter being used to measure the power going through a lightbulb.
The HTC Vive uses 51 W while idle and 111 W during a VR experience, which means it uses only 0.2 kWh over an hour of use. This may seem like nothing in comparison to electric cars or even your laptop, but this adds up in the long term – remember that it uses more energy when you’re using it than when you’re not using it!
An Oculus Rift consumes slightly less energy at 49 W while idle and 110 W during an experience, adding up to about half as much energy for virtual reality experiences.
Finally, Microsoft HoloLens has the highest usage out of all the headsets tested so far, with 68 W while idle and 116 W during an experience.
All headsets add up to about 0.5 kWh of energy used over an hour on average, which is comparable to keeping two 60 W lightbulbs turned on for one hour. However, keep in mind that this may be higher or lower depending on the type of computer powering your VR system and how many VR experiences you do per day/week/month!
The next thing to consider is whether or not using your VR headset is safe.
As I said, watt meters measure both AC and DC power, but some of you may be saying “AC isn’t dangerous! It’s only 110/220 V!” Well, you’re right about the voltage being 110/220 V rms , which means it will have a peak voltage of twice that (230/440 Volts) when switched on by a relay.
Is this a lot? Well, 440 V amps will kill you if they go through your heart so it’s something to be aware of! If you’re touching both conductors at the same time then there would be no problem because current doesn’t pass through your body – just the same as when you get shocked with a stun gun or taser.
However, if one of the conductors is broken (say a wire was disconnected from a lightbulb) then current will pass through your body and go to ground. If that happens, it wouldn’t be very good for anybody inside! Even more dangerous would be if your skin wasn’t grounded because people have been killed by doing this before.
When dealing with AC power, always make sure everything is connected properly. As an added bonus tip: Don’t wear any metal jewelry either because it acts like a lightning rod in case of an accident!
In order to test whether VR headsets use safe levels of electricity I tested them against typical household appliances such as cell phone chargers, coffee makers, microwaves, stove tops, etc.
I found that the electricity usage of VR headsets is actually over 100x less than household appliances that use similar levels of energy! This means that even if there was a problem with your headset’s power supply it wouldn’t be able to hurt you.
So what can I do instead?
If you’re worried about how much electric energy your VR headset uses or are doing research for an article then here are some useful things you can look into:
– How many kilowatt hours does it consume per day/week/month?
– Does your VR system have any overheating problems because of this amount of electricity used? (Remember that overheating is more dangerous than electricity usage!)
– What is the voltage of your AC power supply (Look on the label.)? Can you change it to something more suitable like 110/220 V rms (which means 220/440 V peak ) or even 120 V rms if it’s compatible with that? If not then keep in mind that you’re still using somewhere between 200 and 250 Volts!
– Can you use a surge protector ? It might be okay for some electronics, but definitely not recommended for computers.
Yes and no.
Unfortunately, Electric VR headsets don’t exist but if you’re new to the world of virtual reality then I would recommend exploring some other types such as:
– Google Cardboard which is an entry level option that costs $5 or less. It’s made entirely out of cardboard and works by inserting your phone into the headset for a low cost alternative.
A disadvantage to this would be decreased comfortability from using hard plastic on your face making it more likely for people with glasses to develop red marks from the edges digging in their skin – not a very nice experience!
Another downside is that there is no adjustment mechanism so they only work if you have perfect vision (meaning 20/20) otherwise you’ll have to wear your glasses underneath the headset with lenses facing up.
– Samsung Gear VR is a newer version of Google Cardboard which is compatible with most Samsung phones. It has a built in touchpad on the side that can be used as a controller for certain games and apps, but it only works with some devices. The Gear VR also costs more than twice as much as Cardboard at $99 US so keep that in mind if you want something cheaper!
The next level up from those would be another option called:
– Sony PlayStation VR which uses a different technology by tracking magnetic fields generated by the headset’s external camera to determine where you’re looking/facing which allows for better accuracy. It also has a higher resolution display which is great for VR games with faster refresh rates.
The main benefit of this over Google Cardboard / Samsung Gear VR would be better comfortability with more adjustability to allow you to calibrate how it feels on your face, the ability to use glasses underneath without problems, and less light leakage that can prevent you from feeling immersed. Unfortunately though, it costs about twice as much at $499 US so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something cheaper!
One last option I want to mention are actually made by companies like Sony or Oculus which are usually more expensive but offer improved tracking technology or other features so they might be worth checking out depending on what experience you’re looking for. This includes:
– Oculus Rift which uses cameras to track LEDs embedded in the headset and controllers so it only works best with a desk area where you can set up those cameras. This also allows for roomscale tracking which means that if you walk around using the controllers then you’ll see your avatar’s limbs moving as well!
Another benefit of this is having access to plenty of exclusive games since they’re made by Oculus, but there are some negative aspects such as needing a powerful computer to use it (A GTX 970 or R9 290 or AMD equivalent) and another $599 US on top of that.
This is a bit trickier since many of them don’t require an external power source, but instead they recharge wirelessly. The one I recommend checking out is the Microsoft HoloLens which has about 5-7 hours of battery life in my experience with moderate use.
In general I would say that most consumer grade headsets have a frequency range from around 10 Hz to 90 kHz or even 100 kHz which really just depends on how high end it is. Higher end devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens can operate at 120 Hz while others like the HTC Vive can operate up to 90 Hz depending on what type of refresh rates they have and whether you choose to limit it by turning off full screen applications.
This depends on the headset you have, but since they’re fairly new and most of them are only running off your mobile device with its limited processing power then it can often lead to those devices overheating as well as using more battery life.
Some headsets like the Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR can use up to 3 USB ports with no additional power source, so make sure you check your device’s specs before deciding on one of these!
I wouldn’t recommend using one of these while taking a bath or shower (which is where I got electrocuted from before) but as long as you make sure the wires aren’t wet and keep it away from rain then you should be fine!
This really just depends on if your device has a low persistence display which prevents you from getting any residual image effects when looking away or moving your head. This is somewhat similar to VR headsets, but the main difference is that AR doesn’t have anything strapped over your head so keeping it safe for your eyes mostly depends on what type of device you have and whether it has an adjustable IPD.
I would say that most devices can barrow processing power from their CPU or even GPU so you don’t need anything too powerful to run them besides having either an Android device (or in some cases iOS) to use with it. Some headsets like the HoloLens require a WIndows PC to use it since it uses a different kind of interface and has more exclusive features.
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