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Virtual reality and you

Nathaniel Mohun, Staff Writer

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Primitive forms of Virtual Reality have existed for many years, but only recently have high quality VR devices been available for the average consumer. All this new technology can be very confusing, so I’m here to help you understand what it’s all about

What is VR?

Virtual Reality refers to the use of computer technologies and a head-mounted display to create simulated virtual environments. In the past, VR was only used for military, medical, and other professional uses. Now, Virtual Reality devices are available for anyone to purchase. For consumer VR, there are two main mediums: PC VR, which uses a VR headset connected to a powerful home computer, and mobile VR, which utilizes the power of a smartphone attached to a VR headset. Both can show you new and stunning experiences that cannot be experienced any other way.

What can VR do, and what kind is right for me?

Currently, VR is mainly used for playing games, watching 360° videos, and viewing 360° pictures, but can also be used for web browsing, socializing, and everyday computing in an entirely new, more immersive way. As a developing platform, new uses and ideas are constantly being created, and it is exciting to see what will come next. If you already own a smartphone, mobile VR is definitely the cheapest way to get into VR. The Samsung Gear VR, compatible with Samsung phones, and Google’s Daydream View, compatible with the Pixel, Moto Z and some other phones, are available $129.99 and $79 respectively. Alternatively, Google Cardboard devices are also available for only $15, but are much more limited in their capabilities. If you are looking for a VR device that is capable of higher quality and more immersive experiences, PC VR headsets can deliver. The Oculus Rift, available for $598 (with Touch controllers), and the HTC Vive, available for $799, are the main PC VR headsets available now, but both require a powerful computer. The Playstation VR headset, bundled at $499 with camera and controllers, is another option that requires a Playstation 4, but is not quite as powerful as PC VR headsets. Regardless of which headset you decide to get, you will find that VR is a brand new experience that is bound to shape your future. Freshman Nicholas Smith, who attended a recent Virtual Reality Convention in LA, said, “It is literally the coolest thing ever. I saw how technology has grown and how it is used in both entertainment and in professional fields.”

Hmm… I’m still not sure…

If you’re still considering purchasing a headset, but are not sure if it is worth your money, there are thousands of locations available to demo all of the VR devices mentioned in this article. Senior Samuel Blair was recently able to try out VR and said, “VR is a really cool experience that everyone should try out. It brings us one step closer to the future.” If you have some free time, go check it out and see what VR is really about.

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Virtual reality and you