By Samuel Horti
A wireless, open platform control system for VR games that links whatever you do in real life with the movements of your virtual self. . The full system – cheaper options are available – gives you five motion tracking modules, two of which are placed within individual handheld controllers, and three that you can attach anywhere else on your body.
An A/C electromagnetic field determines the position of each module relative to a fixed base and measures orientation on all three axes. That equates to one-to-one tracking of your movements with low latency and no positional drift.
Sixense | $579.99 (5 module package)
An all-in-one VR experience. It's a 100-degree FOV headset plus a controller that can transform into a gun, a joystick, a sword, a regular gamepad, or a steering wheel. The headset boasts a full HD display with 1.03 mega pixels per eye and – along with the controller – features 9-axis motion tracking.
This allows the device to recognise the position of your body for “one step” control of character: you can move forward, back, left, and right, and jump or duck. It works with Playstation, Xbox, PC and Android and fans have pledged more than $200,000 on Kickstarter so far.
ANTVR | £TBC
The Omni is a 360-degree, non-moving treadmill for controlling in-game movement. Slip on some custom trainers and step on to the low friction, grooved surface to make your character walk, sprint and jump in any direction. Gravity will slide your foot back to the centre of the 45” diameter concave surface after each stride to mimic natural movement, and a built-in waist harness keeps you stable.
Manufacturers Virtuix say you'll burn up to 400 calories in an hour's gaming session and the design means there's minimal impact on joints. It's PC only for now, and requires a VR headset and wireless controller to operate.
Virtuix | $499.00
Unveiled at GDC this year, Sony's answer to the Rift looks like something from next century: its black and silver design, and five-inch main panel, is sleek and stylish, with the specs to match. As well as motion sensing capability, provided by a accelerometer and gyroscope, it features Sony's new 3D audio technology that re-creates stereoscopic sounds in all directions and changes in real-time depending on your head orientation.
Display comes from a 1080p LCD with a 90-degree FOV, and the headset works with the PlayStation Camera for tracking and PlayStation Move for motion control. Results so far show that the visuals are clear and the positional monitoring is spot on.
Sony | £TBC
The one that got us all interested. A virtual reality headset that transports gamers directly into 3D world, with magnetometers, accelerometers and a gyroscope to track your head movements. The device boasts a low persistence OLED display which eliminates motion blur and judder to ensure a smooth ride, and a HD resolution of 960 x 1080 per eye. The display sits in a 5.6 inch panel that gives you an FOV of 100 degrees.
This PC-only headset might look a little rugged, but the Rift has already received glowing reviews. Kzero reckon it will sell 200,000 units in 2014 alone.
OculusVR | $350 (DK2)
A wireless virtual reality body suit that matches your actions in real life to the movements of your in-game self. A varying number of inertial sensors which provide 360 degrees of real, time, low-latency motion tracking.
The Pro version (12 sensors) gives the highest level of control, recognising actions such as pointing your feet or shrugging your shoulders. A core version (eight sensors) give full body tracking with a little less precision, while the Lite suit (six sensors) is upper-body only. Two controllers complete the line-up – one for each hand – with joysticks that act like regular thumb-sticks to move your character around the world
Yei Technology | $429 (Pro)
VR isn't just for powerful consoles and PCs. Slide your smartphone into the Durovis Drive headset, start a compatible app, and adjust the lenses for an immediate trip to another world. It will work with any iOS or Android smartphone with an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a screen smaller than five inches. The headset is electronics free, using the processing power and display of the smartphone to create VR.
Flexible nylon plastic keeps it down to 150g and for those who get motion sickness there's a small opening at the bottom of the Dive so that the real world is constantly in your peripheral vision. No more VR nausea.
Durovis | €59.99
Another headset that turns your smartphone into a VR gaming centre. It sends separate images to each eye to produce perfect 3D for gaming or watching film, and a light frame with foam padding ensure a comfortable fit. It uses your phone's screen but interchangeable lenses reduce glare and are especially designed to work with AMOLED and LCD screens to produce the highest quality image.
Six “perfect fit” cases will fit some of the most popular devices snugly. It's best suited to bigger screens, but a universal adapter will work with anything bigger than 3.8 inches, and its battery promises to outlast any modern phone.
vrAse | £TBC
Control VR lets you to see and accurately control your hands in a virtual world. Military grade inertial sensors that measure rotation to the tenth of a degree are built-in to cloth gloves allowing individual finger movements and whole hand gestures to be accurately rendered on screen.
The gloves run into stretch-Velcro arm straps with similar sensors and the device straps to your chest, giving full upper body control. Latency on the open-source system is 50-60 milliseconds, although by final release the company hopes to half that and upgrade production materials to rubber (with rings surrounding your fingers), plastic, and stiff cabling. Dev kits ship in December.
Control VR | $600 (2-arm dev kit)