The evolution of the VR headset

As the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is finally available for consumer purchase – you can now buy it on Amazon! – we take a look back at the headsets that got us here, courtesy of VR studio Visualise, who have shared their collection of prototypes with us.

Alongside its potential to take us into new worlds, virtual reality is something of a tech geek’s paradise. Visualise, which is based in London, has been in the VR game longer than most, and as such have a rather fine collection of the headsets that have appeared along the way. Here they share them with us.

Will McMaster, head of VR at the company, has snapped the sets for CR and below talks us through the subtle but important changes that the headsets went through as the tech developed. Go forth and geek out…

Above and top: Oculus DK1 headset
Above and top: Oculus DK1 headset

Oculus DK1 headset
“This was the original headset which started it all in 2012,” says McMaster. “Its low resolution and lack of ‘low persistence display’ made it extremely uncomfortable and gave most people at least some form of motion sickness. Low persistence displays minimise motion blur when you move your head.”

Oculus HD Prototype headset
Oculus HD Prototype headset

Oculus HD Prototype
“The HD Prototype was pretty similar to DK1, except that it was smaller and had a HD display in it. It still lacked a low persistence display, and didn’t have positional tracking.”

Above: Oculus DK2 headset
Above: Oculus DK2 headset

Oculus DK2
“DK2 was a major step up from HD Prototype. It offered a low persistence display, and positional tracking. Its resolution was still limited to HD however.”

Oculus CV1
Oculus CV1

Oculus CV1
“The consumer release of the Oculus Rift. From DK1 to CV1 was nearly four years. CV1 offers higher resolution display and much improved ergonomics.”

Samsung Gear Moonlight prototype
Samsung GearVR Moonlight prototype

Samsung GearVR Moonlight prototype
“The first prototype for the GearVR had most of the features of the final kit (side buttons, internal gyroscope/accelerometer). It was handmade and had to be repaired at various points (hence the pink tape). It used a modified Galaxy S5 phone.”

Samsung GearVR Note4 prototype
Samsung GearVR Note4 prototype

Samsung GearVR Note4 prototype
“This was pretty near the final design of the GearVR. It had slightly different lenses and a few subtle button and texture differences from the final version.”

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