DMC Does Virtual Reality: Free App Recommendations & How VR Works
At this year's Siemens Automation Summit, DMC helped set up a virtual reality demonstration for the Technology Café. We used a VR Box virtual reality headset. DMC even commissioned a VR developer to create a custom rollercoaster application for us. After discovering many different applications and learning how cool virtual reality is, we decided to share some of the best applications and virtual reality information we encountered.
Virtual Reality is a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and stimulates a user's physical presence and environment to allow for user interaction. Most virtual reality displays are either on a computer monitor or a virtual reality headset. Recently, Google Cardboard helped pave the way for a whole host of low-cost virtual reality headsets compatible with any smartphone. Since then, platforms like the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and YouTube have flooded with awesome content that is completely free to enjoy.
How Do VR Headsets Actually Work?
In general, virtual reality headsets that use a smartphone have a few different features to make three-dimensional images appear to be life-sized from the user's perspective. Two glass (or plastic lenses) inside the headset focus and reshape the picture, transforming two side-by-side 2D views into a stereoscopic 3D image.
The gyroscope and accelerometer in the smartphone are able to sense the orientation, movement, and movement speed of the user's head, which allows you to "look around" or control the view. Many nicer headsets allow you to adjust the positioning of these lenses and their distance from the screen for each user's experience. Headsets with a magnet use the smartphone's magnetometer (generally used for the compass functions) to allow you to interact with the screen without actually removing the phone from the headset.
While developing the Technology Café, we tested a lot of different free applications and videos. Here's a list of some of the fun content we found:
Do you have a favorite VR app or story? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
Important Safety Warnings and Precautions
While you should refer to the handbook that came with your headset for usage instructions, here are some general safety precautions you should take when engaging in any virtual reality experience.
- Immediately remove the headset if anyone using the device begins to feel adverse effects. Do not use the headset again until all symptoms have subsided for several hours.
- Take at least a 10-15 minute break every 30 minutes, even if you don’t think you need it.
- Exercise caution when inserting and removing the headset’s phone tray, and use your thumb to hold your device in place any time the tray is not locked into the headset. The clip only secures one side of the phone, using spring-loaded force to hold your device in place. The clip is designed to accommodate any phone size, and may not be strong enough to hold your phone in place. Seriously, please do not rely on a plastic clip to protect your $800 smartphone.
- Children under the age of 13 should not use virtual reality devices. Adult supervision is required for children over the age of 13. Please limit their usage, ensure they take frequent breaks, and monitor them closely if they experience side effects.
- Use headset in an open space and be mindful of your surroundings. Otherwise, you may end up with a bruised forehead and coffee all over your carpet.
Still want more?
Try searching YouTube for 3D or 360 videos, or the Google Play/App Store for 3D/virtual reality apps.
If you're attending the Siemens Automation Summit, be sure to test out virtual reality at the Tech Café!
Learn more about DMC's Siemens Partnership.
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