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VR For Cheap

Virtual Reality has become a mainstay of the technology industry as of the past few years, all thanks to the invention of the Oculus Rift. However, that’s a piece of kit that is rather expensive for what is effectively a novelty (at the moment). Join Timlah as we look at a couple of the cheap alternatives to virtual reality headsets.

Since VR Gaming is becoming common now, it’s no wonder so many people are keen to give it a try for themselves. The high price tag can put people off, however you don’t need to have an expensive headset just to try it out. Whilst you can’t usually connect to a computer with these low-cost headsets, you will be able to get the core experience. Some big names have been involved in the VR scene as of late. With companies such as Samsung and Google keen to see it through, we’ve got quite the array of headsets available. With prices from the ludicrously expensive, to the downright incredibly cheap.

First off, let’s talk about the cheapest of all of the VR Headsets out there: Google Cardboard. When I first heard about this, I thought it was actually supposed to be a joke product. I didn’t think they meant that they were selling cardboard boxes to the public, but lo and behold, they were indeed cardboard boxes which they sent out to members of the public and branded it Google. However, it’s not just a cardboard box.

Google Cardboard is a simple little concept which allows you to effectively ‘make your own’ VR viewer. This is an incredible achievement and goes to show you how cheap the headsets can be. It’s not an exact science either. It’s a cheap build which basically imitates the concept of virtual reality. Mind you, none of these headsets are anywhere near as good as the real thing, but they’re certainly great for understanding what the hoo hah is all about. You can actually get these as low as £2.99 on eBay and yes, they work! You don’t even need to buy a specific  ‘device’, you can build one yourself!

Another interesting one that’s on the way is Mattel’s View-Master. Looking at the prices of the US and Australia, it’s likely these will be under £30. As well as looking a lot more durable than a Google Cardboard device, they will supply you with some flat disks. Those of you who have ever picked up a Nintendo 3DS will be aware of AR games, or Augmented Reality. This is where you look at something, the device will read whatever it’s looking at and give you something contextual about it. With the 3DS, you had cards which on looking at it through the camera, would give you, say, Mario on your bed as I once experienced. That was a weird day, shush.

There aren’t any really well known reliable sources for cheap PC VR as of yet, but don’t you worry – It’s on its way. Just a matter of waiting for it to be a simple (and indeed common) practice to make these headsets. If you’re going to buy a VR Headset for your PC, just stick to the Oculus Rift. It’s safer than trusting some of the more unscrupulous companies that are out there in hopes that one might be legitimate.

With these headsets, you’re able to plug your phone in and depending on the game, or application, you are able to see the content in your peripheral vision. It’s simple, it’s logical and really it’s just a damn good bit of fun. For the sake of £20, can you really afford to miss out on the craze entirely? As always, please remember to like and comment. Alternatively, get involved over on Facebook and Twitter.

4 responses

  1. Great article and I’m looking for the Oculus Rift badly… as well as the Virtuix Omni. However, whenever I see a create your own headset for sale, I feel it’s the same effect as a pet rock. Not quite as good as the real thing… in fact not even close. It’s made from a lot of the same things we recycle/throw out daily and we’re paying to get it back. I have a great idea for Google, make two rings with your thumb and pointer fingers then flip them upside down and sell it as an environmentally friendly mask… no one will ever know.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 3, 2015 at 12:36 am

    • In terms of PC VR, I.E the –real experience–, it’s really worth investing properly and going for the Oculus Rift. Omni, without googling, is the walking device? Other than the OR, there’s Morpheus… Kinda..? Actually, even that doesn’t hold a flame to the OR, sadly. One day, someone will come along and do what OR are doing but cheaper.

      With regards to these cheapy headsets, actually – They’re not dreadful, but the issue is that you’re right in some regards: It isn’t the full experience. You’re getting quite an isolated experience. But if you’re looking to just try it out – It’s well worth the £2.99 from eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Google-Cardboard-3D-VR-Virtual-Reality-Glasses-Mobile-Phone-3D-Viewer-Glasses-/262014307517?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368, or http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Cardboard-3D-Vr-Virtual-Reality-Glasses-Valencia-Quality-For-Google-Android-/361181827682?hash=item54181d5262:g:wrUAAOSwT6pVo4Ro for American audiences at $5.99).

      But, to add to the point of “Just selling back what we recycle”, if you go to Google Cardboard’s website (https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/get-cardboard/) It gives you the specification and diagrams to make it yourself out of things you recycle. One of the ones I’ve seen made it out of EVA foam (and as an avid cosplay, I’ve got loads of that spare upstairs.) Can imagine it’d be comfier!

      Of course, unlike the OR (Which is phenomenal. I’ve been fortunate enough to wear one inside of a coffin (https://geekoutsw.com/2015/03/16/rezzed-2015-gallery/)), you only get the viewing experience. It’s an entry level concept to VR… But it works! … Just.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 3, 2015 at 12:48 am

      • I can see that, yeah Omni is the treadmill design peripheral. Overall I agree that it’s neat trying to make VR available for all, but I think I’d judge with people strapping cardboard to their face, granted wearing Google Glasses also had judgement from others and I wanted them. So either way, I see what they are doing?

        Liked by 1 person

        December 3, 2015 at 12:51 am

      • I still thought it was a bit of a joke, but hey: It’s a novelty and it’s one you wear in your house. I’d rather strap a £2.99 piece of cardboard to my face than a £30 piece of plastic, if they do the exact same job. Both are perfectly breakable, after all! Though it might just be Open Source to the extreme ;)

        Liked by 1 person

        December 3, 2015 at 12:54 am

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