Oculus Rift HMD (Source)

 

Oculus VR was the crowd funded start-up that launched the current boom in VR development in 2012 when they announced the Rift VR headset. Now owned by Facebook, Oculus launched the final version of the Rift earlier this year, the CV1 (Consumer Version 1). Two models were previously available to developers only, known as the DK1 and DK2, Development Kit 1 and 2. Each version has been more powerful and higher quality than the last. All versions of the Rift require a fairly powerful PC and graphics card to work, though the DK1 and DK2 could also work on sufficiently powered Apple Macs. The Learning Technologies team have a DK2, so if you are interested in exploring what can be done with the Rift, drop us a line.

Oculus has also developed the Gear VR in partnership with Samsung. This headset takes a different approach. Instead of a computer it is powered by a compatible Samsung smartphone which is inserted into the front of the headset which also becomes the display. Lacking the power of a desktop computer, the quality of the games and applications is a little lower, but this is compensated for by the convenience, ease of use and the lack of cables tying you to external equipment.

 

The Egyptian Tomb of Menna - A VR recreation of an ancient Egyptian tomb. Windows and DK1 only.

Titans of Space - A guided tour through a miniaturised solar system. The original version is free for the CV1 and DK2, but runs on Windows only. Has also been ported to other VR systems.

Riftmax - A virtual movie theatre that lets you insert any video file and watch it together with others who are physically remote from you.

AltspaceVR - An app that lets people in different parts of the world share the same virtual space to socialise and play games. Also available for HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR.

Henry - An article about how VR is reinventing and enhancing traditional media, showcasing an award-winning short story that you are immersed into, rather than watch passively.