Reading articles here, or on other Virtual Reality related sites, you often come across acronyms and terms that the average person may not be familiar with. 6DoF, is it really twice as good as 3DoF? Foveated, is there a pill for that? Read below and all your questions will be answered.
Augmented Reality (AR)
A view of the real world with an image overlaid. The smartphone game Pokémon Go is an example of AR in that the user can look at the screen of the phone and see an image of the real world, with a Pokémon present.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The computer’s processor.
The ability of an HMD to track where the user is looking within an image, instead of simply tracking what direction the user’s head is facing.
Field of View
Field of View is how many degrees (like measuring a circle, not measuring temperature) the hardware allows the user to see from one edge to the other. As an example, if a headset has a 90 degree FoV, the user can see in a 45 degree arc on either side of the centre of the user’s vision. FoV can be measured both horizontally or vertically, though if it’s not specified it usually means horizontal. As a frame of reference, most people have a 200 to 220 degree FoV horizontally, when considering peripheral vision, so any HMD with a FoV less than that won’t fill all of the user’s vision.
A graphics rendering technique that renders the area that the user is directly looking at higher than the surrounding image. Refers to the Fovea Centralis, a small, central pit composed of cones in the eye. Requires some form of eye tracking to work.
Frames Per Second (FPS)
How many separate images (complete refreshes of the display) are shown to the user each second. The higher the FPS, the smoother the action.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
A processor, separate from the CPU, that handles calculations with respect to what is being displayed to the user. Will sometimes be used interchangeably with, “Video Card”.
Head Mounted Display (HMD)
Any goggles, glasses or helmet with a screen, or screens, capable of displaying an image for the user.
The mental sense of actually being in the virtual environment.
Interpupillary Distance (IPD)
The distance in millimetres between the centre of the pupils of the eyes. Most HMDs have lenses that focus the image to the middle of the average IPD of a male, 64mm. If a user has an IPD greater or less than that value, it can distort the image slightly. Some HMDs allow the IPD of the lenses to be adjusted.
Virtual Reality's Future. Some people say that virtual reality might replace all reality in the future, and there are also worries about the future of humanity because of it. But those fears have no basis in reality. Virtual reality only supplements reality instead of replacing it. Numerous industries have benefited from the rise of this technology, and most consumers are also loving their virtual reality experience. The future looks very bright for virtual reality, especially as the technology improves.
On it’s own, is sometimes used interchangeably with Augmented Reality. However, instead of an image simply overlaid on a view of the real world, the image should be seen interacting with the real world, appearing obstructed or moved by real world objects. If it’s used in the phrase, Windows Mixed Reality, it is Microsoft’s term for their line of Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality HMDs. As an example, the Lenovo Explorer is a Windows Mixed Reality HMD, but it is a piece of Virtual Reality hardware, not Mixed Reality.
A program that is designed with room-scale VR in mind allows the user to walk and move around in the real world (where space permits) and have their movements correspond to movement in the virtual world.
Three Degrees of Freedom (3DoF)
Used to describe an HMD or controller that is able to sense when it is being moved in three different ways. Usually this refers to pitch, yaw and roll.
Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF)
Used to describe an HMD or controller that is able to sense when it is being moved in any direction. Adding on to 3DoF, it will sense movement on the X, Y and Z axis (up/down, left/right and forward/backward).
Virtual Reality (VR)
A simulated or recreated environment that visually replaces the user’s real world surroundings.