Virtual / Augmented Reality Devices

VR / AR are currently fractured markets, and that's confusing for the general public.  The overall cost and functionality of consumer devices is far from clear.  Here are a few of the more popular devices currently available:

Cardboard

These hand-held VR kits work on almost any modern smartphone.  As you might expect from an entry-level device, experience varies wildly. Some more recent viewers include plastic/metal construction and decent quality lenses.

Samsung Gear VR

First to market with a good consumer VR solution + content network, Gear VR works with Samsung's premium phones.  Soon to release a lightweight $99 version.

Oculus Rift

The Belle of the Ball and focus of most VR hype.  Purchased by Facebook for US$2Bn, it releases the first consumer version in 2016, after two populsr hardware development kits.

HTC Vive

Deeply integrated with the Steam gaming platform and notable for using volumetric virtual space.  Which means you can move around the room with controllers.

OSVR

A modular, open-source VR headset solution.  Not so much a retail product as an ongoing development kit for enthusiasts.

FOVE

This Kickstarter campaign is the first to develop eye-tracking.  One to watch, as this innovation greatly enhances both animation speed and the impression of virtual immersion.

Playstation VR

Formerly known as Project Morpheus, this headset comes with handheld controllers to integrate with Sony's PlayStation 4 games console.

Hololens

Extremely ambitious augmented reality headset from Microsoft.  Early demonstrations include integration with the company's Minecraft game, but with initial development kits costing US$3k, initial applications are likely to be in manufacturing. 

Magic Leap

Another AR solution, funded largely by Google and likely to build on the Glass platform. Purported to project light-field images directly onto the retina, early demonstrations have been greeted with wild enthusiasm.

Intel RealSense / Leap Motion

These interfaces allow VR users to interact with virtual interfaces right now.  Think Minority Report.

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