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What are Virtual Reality Glasses?
August 11, 2019
Imagine playing games where you’re experiencing the action first-hand. Sounds fun, right? There’s technology today that can give you the feeling of being in a war, at an amusement park, or by the beach with friends. Virtual reality glasses are designed for just this effect, and they are available to consumers at a variety of price points.
How do they work and what uses do they have besides gaming? In this article, you can learn more about this tech trend and tips for making the most of it.
What are virtual reality glasses?
Virtual reality, or VR, is a technology that’s been around in some form for decades. Military organizations, for example, were among the first to use immersive, digital worlds to train and prepare for battle. The tech has since become more accessible to the average consumer, taking a new form in lightweight goggles or headsets that can be purchased in retail stores. The home consumer versions of virtual reality glasses are notably geared toward gamers and those who want a more realistic entertainment experience.
Glasses can fully enclose the face or head, similar to a motorcycle helmet. Most devices, however, just cover the eyes and portions of the ears. Because they transmit sound in addition to light, some will include speakers. Other models have space to insert a separate pair of earbuds. They are usually plastic and come in a variety of colors and designs. Many match the brand or gaming system they are specifically manufactured by.
How do virtual reality glasses work?
What makes this product so special? How does it manage to make digital worlds seem so realistic? Not all devices work the same, but they all have the common approach of using the motion of your head combined with stereoscopic imagery to send images and sounds to your eyes and ears. If done well, your brain can be triggered into thinking that you’re actually in the digital world you’re seeing.
Not all devices are the same and not all of them are sophisticated, however. Some virtual reality glasses are simple, plastic goggles that hold your mobile phone up to your eyes at the proper distance to display a VR app in the most immersive way possible.
Others consist of goggles, a screen, and some processing equipment to deliver another level of tracking and display capabilities. These high-end glasses will need a standalone gaming computer or console with upgraded graphics processors to perform properly. When it comes to VR, you often get what you pay for.
Learning how to use virtual reality glasses is simple. Most games or programs come with instructions on how to use them inside the virtual environment. Even those with no VR experience can start playing in no time. The only skill needed to use them is in the game or application, not in the wearing of the glasses. Just put them on, adjust for comfort, and go.
Tips for using virtual reality glasses
Most glasses will come with instructions for getting started, including how to adjust for the right fit and how to use them safely. Read the setup guide and manufacturer’s documentation fully before starting any virtual reality experience for the first time. These additional guidelines can improve your experience and keep you safe while you play.
The glasses are meant to be used in an open area where you can freely move about and perform the functions needed by the game or app. Make sure you have the space to do so. Remove potential hazards and alert others to your play. Pets and children can easily get underfoot without you knowing. It’s safe for everyone to give the VR glasses wearer some room.
Be on alert for motion sickness
Because virtual reality glasses use a balance of field of vision, frame rate, and latency to display a realistic view, it’s best to shop for well-made virtual reality goggles that can handle these complex measurements. If glasses don’t work properly or are ill-fitting, they pose a risk of causing motion sickness for the wearer.
If you begin to feel nauseous or dizzy when wearing them, take off the glasses. Then review the directions for wear and make adjustments before trying again. Keep in mind that some people don’t respond well to even properly fitting glasses.
Give your eyes a break
Just like when using any electronic device, it’s good to take ample breaks to prevent eye strain and fatigue. Those who need prescription glasses to see may find the VR glasses to be challenging to wear. Know how you see when wearing contact lenses vs glasses vs not wearing them at all. If you have questions about your eyes and virtual reality, it’s best to talk to your eye doctor.
Follow age guidelines
Not all glasses are built to fit kids, and small children may not find standard-sized headsets to be comfortable or safe. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for age ranges, as some specifically limit the usage to children over 12 and adults. Help children follow the safety rules for gameplay with headsets that are designed for their age group.
Additional safety tips
Experts also recommend that those who are pregnant, the elderly, or those who have certain health conditions such as balance issues be aware of how virtual reality can affect them. Those with implanted medical devices or who have a history of epilepsy or seizures may not be a good fit for the device, either. As with any video game or immersive electronic experience, stop playing if you experience troubling symptoms.
Shopping for virtual reality glasses
If you’re new to buying this type of tech and are concerned that it may not be for you, we have good news. Many of the top brands of virtual reality allow customers to try before you buy. Shopping in a retail location with a demo unit is the best way to see if you enjoy it. This will tell you if you like the experience but can also give you some ideas for what you like in a VR headset. Fit, size, and certain other specifics, such as whether it’s wired or wireless, can be easily determined in person.
Who uses virtual reality glasses?
While we already mentioned that they are popular with serious gamers, VR glasses also have an appeal for the casual gamer and app users. Even kids have become a fast-growing fanbase for the basic VR glasses that use your smartphone to display the graphics. Gaming in an immersive digital environment can be exhilarating, and many users find it easier to concentrate on a game when they have no outside distractions.
Gamers don’t completely dominate the market, however. Movies and other forms of entertainment are making the switch to virtual reality technology. Seeing your favorite big-screen title via virtual glasses may be one of the most widely accepted ways to use them. Even those who don’t game can enjoy the close-up views and realistic sounds that mimic the same in-person experience you’d find in the best theaters.
Government, medical, and business entities
We mentioned the military and security potential with virtual reality, and these groups will continue to pursue VR to capitalize on new tech advances. Business groups are looking at the future of this capability as well. Many use virtual reality to train employees who perform dangerous jobs, such as those in construction or demolition. Physicians prepare for advanced surgical procedures with this tech, too.
Are you next?
From training public service workers to giving customers new advertising experiences, it seems that virtual reality is here to stay and will continue to provide paths for growth in a variety of industries. If you haven’t considered giving it a try, there has never been a better time to do it.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.