This is used to refer to the input devices, clothing and equipment worn by people who engage in virtual reality. This includes:
- Virtual reality glasses or goggles
- Data gloves
- Head mounted displays (HMD)
- Data suits
This also includes haptic devices which enable the user to feel a sense of touch when they manipulate an object within a virtual environment.
Virtual reality goggles are a major part of the set up and can be acquired by gamers as well as people engaged in many forms of virtual reality research.
These goggles are discussed in more detail in the virtual reality glasses section. This section contains several articles about VR glasses for Mac, PC and PS3.
The main difference between virtual reality gear in the past and now is that back then, the trend was towards large, bulky looking gear which was uncomfortable and incomprehensible. Plus it had a futuristic appearance which may have been a turn off for the commercial sector as well as the high price tag.
But like most forms of technology, virtual reality gear has become smaller, lighter and more affordable. The bulky television sized head mounted display (HMD) has been replaced by lighter models which fit neatly over the front of the face.
Head mounted display
These take the form of a pair of goggles or helmet with a screen in front which displays three dimensional images. Many of these contain headphones and/or speakers so that the wearer receives audio/video output as well.
Most displays are connected to cables although there are several wireless models available. But, there is a problem with time lag (latency) which refers to the period of time between the wearer’s actions and the appropriate response, e.g. shift in perception.
Head mounted displays also contain a tracking device which means that the images displayed to the wearer change as he/she moves their head. This also changes their point of view.