Category Archives: VR Head Mounted Displays

Demonstrating Virtual Reality at the University of Hertfordshire

It’s not often that we get the chance to demonstrate what we’re working on as, in education, it’s more about the finished product and conclusions. Nevertheless, during the HEaTED East of England network event , we were given the opportunity to allow people to wonder around a bespoke 3D environment while using our HTC Vive headset and touch controllers. We used the controllers themselves emulate the functional behaviours of a smartphone. The reactions were all positive and I managed to have chats with some senior managers about where it is we’re hoping to take our vision for VR at the University. You can find a brief video depicting the space below: The idea was to […]

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The HTC Vive in a smaller space

Granted, there are plenty of videos showing how the Vive works in large, open environments but few of them deal with the real-world scenarios faced by many when it comes to introducing virtual reality to their living rooms. Much like how the Nintendo Wii needed a similar amount of space in order to allow the user to swing their arms around as they participated in sword fights, golf and bowling, the Vive needs even more to do it justice. Having said that, it seems to work incredibly well, even in something of a cramped space. I don’t doubt that, as the prevalence of VR continues to grow, we may undergo a radical culture shift involving […]

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HTC Vive Commercial Release – First Impressions

Shortly after receiving our HTC Vive, I rushed to set everything up in a bid to sample the delights of the virtual reality applications available through Steam. For those of you unfamiliar with Steam, it’s an online content distribution service, initially set up for gaming but has since diversified its offerings in a bid to reach out to wider audiences. We’re hoping to improve the student experience by creating engaging visual content for use in our concept classrooms and the promise of virtual reality in this area is quite something. Unboxing the headset and its accompanying assortment of wires made me wonder how portable a solution the Vive could be. Much of what we do […]

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Mixed Reality with the Oculus DK2

The irony of virtual reality is that, despite being a visual medium, it remains incredibly difficult to convey in a faithful manner. It’s not just about the visual impact of an experience but also the immersion factor. I made a post a few months ago in which I filmed myself using the Oculus Rift at a desk. In that video, I cross-faded the perspectives of a bystander and user in an attempt to communicate how people can interact with a 3D environment using a headset. Virtual Reality represents something of a growth industry right now but it will take time to convince people of its promise as a means for channelling emotional bandwidth. In the […]

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The Weston Auditorium at the University of Hertfordshire in Virtual Reality

Much has changed these last few years in the gaming industry. Until recently, real-time/interactive 3D has had something of a stigma associated with it when it came to education. Happily, in the spirit of inquiry, research has continued to verify its potency for creating memorable and engaging experiences. Click here to view the search trend data on Google We’ve been in possession of an Oculus Rift (development kit 2) for a while now and it’s provided us with some exciting opportunities to do with Learning & Teaching Innovation. We’re currently working with Psychology staff to create virtual environments for use in research and have been awarded funding to pursue some other ideas with measurable outcomes. […]

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Getting serious with virtual and augmented reality at the VRTGO conference

Last week I attended the VRTGO conference in Newcastle, a day of talks from various industry representatives describing how they were using Virtual and Augmented Reality in their businesses. Happily, not all of it was gaming-related, something which has been difficult to exclude from these events as, understandably, the gaming sector is what is driving the VR agenda at this time. Having said that, one of the representatives from Crossrail (a London-based project to link various underground railway networks) was able to answer my question of whether there was still any stigma surrounding the term ‘gaming technology’, responding that most people with any interest in the medium already had prior exposure to gaming and that, […]

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Oculus Rift – Development Kit 2

I’ve recently been loaned an Oculus Rift with a view to creating a few technical demonstrations of what the head mounted display is capable of. This will go some way to allowing me to obtain closure on my workflow as I’ve been at odds for some time with regards to which devices I ought to spend my time developing for. The primary annoyance is that though my authoring environment of choice, Unity, exports to multiple platforms, compatibility problems still exist. The libraries I use for windows executables might not work as well on Android and with the death of the unity browser-based plugin, I am now limited to HTML5/WebGL in that particular medium. Windows 10 […]

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A better interface for “Google Cardboard”

In my ongoing search for a suitable alternative to the standard “Google cardboard” headset I’ve procured yet another phone housing. I prefer the phone-based approach to virtual reality as it’s far more accessible to people than head-mounted displays are at this moment in time. In addition to that, the camera throughput allows for interesting uses of augmented reality. I’ll be writing more on that in the future. This entry is a small hands-on review of the Durovis Dive 5 headset. My first experiment with alternative approaches to cardboard began with the colorcross headset. While the approach provided for a more robust alternative to an ever-deteriorating cardboard product, it was still lacking. The phone housing wasn’t […]

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Low cost virtual reality

One of my current projects involves coming up with a way to implement a low cost virtual reality training simulation. Traditionally, most immersive environments used for such a purpose tend to cost a lot of money. Some of you will be familiar with the Igloo method, something which takes up a lot of space and isn’t really practical due to its logistical constraints. With all the buzz around VR headsets, it has become painfully apparent (with all the competition from various manufacturers attempting to get their head-mounted displays out first) that there is no standard. Nobody knows what protocol is going to become the most widely adopted in the coming years and nobody knows what […]

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