I remember it being like this with 8- and 16-bit computers, with home automation, with IoT, and with smartphones. Some tech appears that completely ensnares your imagination (that’d be virtual reality right now, of course) but it seems like all the dream gear this tech promises is always on the horizon, and never getting any closer.
It’ll be here before we know it. I do realize that. But in the meantime all we can really do is drum our fingers and wait impatiently for the perfect VR setup to finally find its way to us.
But if we could have it all today, here’s what I’d imagine my dream VR rig would consist of.
I’m not intending to peer too far into the future here. Just far enough that all those Kickstarters have turned into available, storefront products.
So I’d be content with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive-quality headset as they are right now; only I’m looking at the all-in-one versions we’ve been promised by both leading VR headset platforms. Or I’d settle for some kind of untethering device, so long as the headgear doesn’t become too heavy and bulky along with it.
So let’s do away with the wires once and for all, as long as we can still have the quality and responsiveness we’ve become accustomed to.
We can’t live without tracking anymore, can we? But the ideal is inside-out tracking, where the headset itself is able to view and analyze its surroundings, negating the need for tracking cameras or satellites positioned around the room.
Which makes this an easy item to check off the list, since what we really want is no additional tracking. It’s all taken care of inside our dream VR headset.
That being said, adding tracking to other items, like props or feet or even your pet cat, wouldn’t be a bad thing. And Trackstrap, combined with a few extra Vive Trackers, would be an excellent way to bring a few more items into your perfect VR setup.
Experiencing the virtual world in ways other than video and audio will become essential as VR progresses. That means a haptic suit of some kind.
These have been a little slow to appear, given the complexity of engineering required, but the Teslasuit and Hardlight Suit are exactly what we need for our dream VR setup, so every bullet and every bump on the roller coaster is felt.
VRGluv recently crushed its Kickstarter, and will offer force feedback that lets you touch, hold and feel virtual objects.
And Mark Zuckerberg recently gave us a sneak peek of a pair of apparently simple gloves that will fully visualize your hands within Oculus Rift experiences.
So gloves, it seems, definitely have a place in our dream kit.
This is a big one, that a lot of companies are trying to solve. How to give us the freedom to move around, physically, within a virtual world.
Making this even trickier is that there’ll probably never be one movement device to suit all needs. Driving games, walking games and flying games could all require very different designs.
So we’ll cheat a little and pick two for our perfect, fantasy VR setup. The MMOne, despite being arcade sized, looks amazing for seated games, with a fully articulated chair that can be turned in literally any direction.
And although it’s only been revealed as a prototype so far, the Aperium Kinescape motion platform is pretty mindblowing, and it’d be worth building an extension on the house just to have one of these bad boys.
What else would you add to your dream VR rig? Any other accessories that you think will become essential as the technology progresses and peripherals are more available?
Tell us all about it in the comments below!
In the meantime, let’s summarize what our incredible new home VR suite would look like…
The Dream VR Setup
- Headset: An untethered version of the Rift or Vive.
- Tracking: Inside-out tracking, built into the headset, with trackers attached to additional props and items.
- Haptics: Teslasuit, for full body feedback.
- Controls: VRGluv for force feedback and tactile interfacing with VR objects.
- Movement: The MMOne motorized chair for seated, and the Aperium Kinescape for walking/running.
All being well, all these devices will be with us soon, over on the brand new WEARVR Hardware Store! (Shameless plug, I know, but that’s where you’ll be able to get them all, regardless of platform!).