Virtual reality commonly known as VR is a form of creating a computer-generated graphical environment that immerses the user and takes him into a completely different virtual world. All you need is a VR headset and bang you’re in another world. This amazing technology takes us to a simulated set-up making us completely aloof from the actual surroundings. If you ever have put on the one you would know exactly what I am talking about.
Virtual reality was one of the most searched terms in 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. People were finding ways to visit their favorite places from the comfort as their homes. Virtual reality is the only technology that enabled them to explore these places.
Well how does virtual reality work? What is the amount of work that goes behind to creating this amazing simulation. In this article we explain to you 10 interesting facts about virtual reality and the magic behind this technology.
Basics of Virtual reality and its requisites
The primary concept of virtual reality is finding a method to simulate the vision. To experience the full potential of virtual reality, a VR headset is a must. The primary focus of VR headsets is to perfect their approach to generating a completely immersive 3D environment for the user.
Listed below are 10 interesting facts on how Virtual reality or VR works
1. A screen right in front of your eyes
Each VR headset puts up a screen (or two – one for each eye) in front of the eyes thus, eliminating any interaction with the real world. Two autofocus lenses are generally placed between the screen and the eyes that adjust based on individual eye movement and positioning. The visuals on the screen are rendered either by using a mobile phone or HDMI cable connected to a PC.
2. Frame rate
One of the biggest technical challenges of VR is delivering content at a high enough frame rate to accurately “trick” the user into believing he or she is experiencing the external world. Studies have shown that in practice, any VR setup that generates frame rates below 90 frames per second (FPS) is likely to induce disorientation, nausea, and other negative user effects. The lower the frame rate, the worse the effects. The frame rate is the rate at which the GPU can process the images per second.
3. Screen refresh rate
Screen refresh rate is the pace of the display to render images.
Indeed, one of the biggest challenges to producing a truly immersive and high-quality virtual reality experience has to do with the refresh rate. In layman’s terms, this refers to how many frames per second the virtual reality headset in question can produce. The faster the refresh rate is for any VR headset, the more fluid the experience is. The more fluid the experience is, the less choppy it is and the less it lags.
4. Field of view ( FOV in VR )
Field of view, or the extent of the observable environment at any given time, is one of the more important aspects of virtual reality. The wider the field of view, the more present the user is likely to feel in the experience. There are two types of FOV that work together to form human vision.
Monocular FOV describes the field of view for one of our eyes. For a healthy eye, the horizontal monocular FOV is between 170°-175° and consists of the angle from the pupil towards the nose, the nasal FOV which is usually 60°-65° and is smaller for people with bigger noses, and the view from our pupil towards the side of our head, the temporal FOV, which is wider, usually 100°-110°.
5. Head tracking
The head tracking system in VR headsets follows the movements of your head to sides and angles. It assigns X, Y, Z axis to directions and movements, and involves tools like accelerometer, gyroscope, a circle of LEDs (around the headset to enable the outside camera). Head tracking requires low latency, i.e. 50 milliseconds or less, otherwise, users will notice the lag between head movements and a simulation.
Most VR headsets track the direction of the users’ eyes. This is done using an infrared controller. The major benefit of this technology is to get a more realistic and deeper field of view.
7. Motion tracking
Though not engineered and implemented well enough yet, motion tracking would raise VR to a totally new level. The thing is, that without motion tracking you’d be limited in VR – unable to look around and move around. Through concepts of the 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) and 3D space, options to support motion tracking fall into 2 groups, optical and non-optical tracking. Optical tracking is typically a camera on a headset to follow the movements, while non-optical means the use of other sensors on a device or a body. Most of the existing devices actually combine both options.
8. Sound sync with image
Sound effects, when synced with the visuals, can create very engaging effects. By using a headphone and 3D sound effects the user’s belief in the virtual environment can be reassured. While crafting sound effects due care needs to be taken about the consistency between the graphics and the sound. If you start playing horror music in the background of a fairy tale movie it will just put the user off.