Mobile vs. Immersive Virtual Reality

A quick overview of what virtual reality is and the types of headsets you can expect to use…

So, what exactly is virtual reality? Virtual reality is a three-dimensional digital environment where users can move about, manipulate objects and perform complex actions. Elite VR’s training experiences can measure and record the users choices and actions taken, which then are generated into comprehensive reports for training administrators.

Mobile VR

Mobile VR is precisely as it sounds – portable, wireless, and simple. Most of the world is walking around with a ‘headset’ in their pocket right now. The smartphones of today can quickly transform into a VR system with the use of their magnetometers, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. Load up a VR experience, throw that phone into a Google Cardboard, and you’re ready to go! These systems allow for “three degrees of freedom” in which a user can rotate their point of view left and right (1), up and down (2), and side to side (3). Today’s mobile VR technology grounds a user in their place and usually allows for “point-and-click” functionality. In 2018, the VR market has witnessed the release of the first “standalone headsets” (no phone or computer required) such as the Oculus Go and Lenovo Mirage. The controllers that come with these headsets allow for more, but still limited interactions within the virtual environment. VR evangelists are hopeful that the release of these inexpensive standalone headsets will bring VR to the everyday consumer in an accessible fashion.

An overview of mobile VR:

  • 3˚ of freedom
  • Supports 360˚ images / videos
  • Multi-scene capability
  • Single-target interactions
  • Mobile interactivity
  • Inexpensive to produce

Immersive VR

Immersive VR systems have become the flagship devices for the VR industry. Most notable of which are the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. These devices employ hand controllers and sensors for room scale, leading to “six degrees of freedom.”  The six degrees takes things a step further by allowing the aforementioned head rotation (3) coupled with forward/backward (4), left/right (5), and up/down (6) movements in real-world space. Their controllers work to simulate human hands and allow you to interact with the virtual environment intuitively. They operate with higher processing power, fidelity, and frame rates than their mobile cousins. To account for this need in graphical and processing power, these headsets must be tethered to powerful computers that can accommodate such needs. As a result, they have a higher price tag than their mobile cousins.

An overview of immersive VR:

  • 6˚ of freedom
  • Full immersion
  • Environment recreation
  • Complex interactions
  • Wide range of capabilities
  • Remote collaborations & interactions