By Oscar Myre IV
Valley Bugler Columnist
Christmas is just around the corner so what should you buy your favorite geek this holiday season?
I recommend you consider a VR Headset/Glasses. VR stands for Vulcan-Romulan…..just kidding! It actually stands for Virtual Reality (VR), and immerses the user in an interactive 3D environment. Instead of looking at a screen in front of you, you put on a headset that blocks out all reality and places you into a virtual experience. VR and AR (Augmented Reality) use the same kinds of tech, but my understanding of VR is that it is a completely virtual experience whereas AR is a hybrid of the real world with virtual components. More about AR in the future.
Armed with an Amazon gift card I started checking out VR headsets in November. Some headsets connect to a computer and have a built-in display/screen inside the headset. Others take advantage of the user’s phone screen that slides into the headset. I’ve heard at lease one Tech snob say that the experience on the phone headsets is less impressive due to the lesser processing power. I would think with the new phones it would be more about the software and less about the hardware.
One advantage of the Phone based headset/glasses is cost. VR Headsets such as Google Cardboard start at around $10. You can download some VR apps and slide in your phone (iPhone or Android) to get started. As the Google Cardboard title says it is made of cardboard. There are plenty of options for $20 or more that are made of plastic and look really cool. These headsets have controls right on them and you can also use a wireless Bluetooth remote.
If you are shopping make sure to see if it is compatible with your phone. It looks like Android phones have a lot more options. Many of the remotes for the headsets don’t work for iPhone. Also keep in mind the size of your phone many of the headsets don’t work with the larger phone sizes.
VR is popular now for gaming, but it has tremendous potential to be a teaching tool and some see it as a treatment tool for mental illness. For now, I can’t wait to get my headset and play a few games with the family. It will arrive right before this article goes to print.
Do you have a VR/AR headset? If you do please let me know what you think about yours in the comments of the online version of this article, or give a shout on FB. I will see you in the future.
Oscar Myre IV is the head web developer at RAM Mounts in Seattle. Oscar enjoys playing outside with his kiddos and doing crazy mudruns. Visit rammount.com