Virtual Reality Terminology

Have you found yourself a bit confused with some of the terminology we use here (or what you’ve seen on other websites)? Don’t worry, that is commonplace when learning any new technology. So here is a glossary of commonly used terms in VR.

360-Degree Video

A camera system created to record 360-degrees of simultaneous material. When integrated into virtual reality, it allows you to turn and experience a completely 360-degree view. Facebook, Google Maps and YouTube all currently support 360-degree videos.

4D

A four dimensional movie builds on the experience of 3D by affecting other senses. This includes the artificial creation of wind, vibrations, scent or moisture.

4K or Ultra HD

Terms are (nearly) interchangeable. Ultra HD and 4K refers to the resolution. At 3,840 lines of horizontal resolution, it is nearly four times the resolution of HD. “Cinema” 4K has a slightly better resolution at 4,096, although this difference is nearly indistinguishable to the human eye.

AR – Augmented Reality

A form of technology that superimposes computer generated information and imagery directly over your real worldview. Google Glass is considered AR (Pokemon Go can be considered AR as well). Microsoft HoloLens, hitting the industry towards the end of 2016, will fall under this category.

Cardboard

An HMD (head mounted display) designed out of cardboard. This device helps turn powerful Android and iOS mobile phones into virtual reality headsets.

Cinematic VR

Virtual reality is broken down into two different visual experiences: computer generated graphics and real life visuals. VR Hush is Cinematic VR as it is made of real content recorded using our 360-degree camera rigs.

Computer Generated VR

A computer generated virtual reality world, where the entire virtual experience is created in a computer and rendered out. Similar to being in a 360-degree computer game.

Data Glove

A glove connected to the VR computer/headset. The glove is wired with sensors, allowing you to touch and interact with objects in the virtual world. Some systems (like PlayStation VR) use joysticks instead of gloves.

Eye Tracking

Closely related to head tracking. This uses special sensors to track the movement of your eyes while wearing an HMD. Eye tracking is more advanced than head tracking, although the two can be used together (most commonly in VR video games).

FOV (Field of View)

The field of view is measured in degrees. A complete field of view (if you were to turn in a complete circle) is 360 degrees. Stationary, without turning backwards, a human has a 180-degree field of view. Many HMDs provide an initial field of view between 50 and 110 degrees (before turning your head).

Haptics

Also known as “touch feedback,” this creates the sensation of touch against your body by applying pressure and vibrations (a video game controller vibrating or a porn toy pulsating). Haptics are typically included into connected hardware, like gloves or, when regarding VR porn, dildos and masturbators.

Head Tracking

Sensors used in the HMD to monitor head movement. This allows the visual information in the headset to shift and move along with your head.

HMD – Head Mounted Display

Not to be confused with the illusive WMDs, a head mounted display is what you wear to experience VR. HMDs are broken down into two different groups: mobile and tethered. Tethered headsets include the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Mobile options take advantage of powerful mobile phones inserted into an HMD unit.

Image Distance

The perceived distance between you and the object.

Latency

The small yet noticeable delay between the movement of your head and the HMD catching up to your movement. This creates a disoriented experience and may cause motion sickness. In real life there is a slight delay, measured down to the thousandth of a millisecond (the time it takes your eyes to relay the signal to your brain), but it is indistinguishable to the naked human eye. In VR, the speed depends on hardware and program, yet a 20 millisecond latency is the lowest acceptable level to ensure a quality experience.

Presence

Term used as the “presence” of being physically located within a virtual world. Where you, the user, experience both sight and touch in the virtual world. The virtual world creates a truly realistic experience to the point you believe it is a reality.

Real Time

Actions and movement taking place with no perceived delay between the input and actions.

Refresh Rate

The number of times an image flashes, or “refreshes” every second. A refresh rate is used to describe televisions and computer monitors as well. The faster the refresh rate, the smoother the image. A higher refresh rate also cuts down on potential motion sickness (simulator sickness). Standard definition televisions have a refresh rate of 60 frames per second. This is the minimum refresh rate you want on a VR device.

Resolution

The number of lines of visual information displayed in the VR headset. Some HMDs display content as low as 480 lines of horizontal resolution. HD is 1080 lines of resolution. 4K displays content at 3,840 lines of resolution (or nearly four times that of HD).

Retinal Binocular Disparity (RBD)

The ratio of convergence angles of the viewer (you) in comparison to the convergence angles of the viewed objects. Essentially, it ensures a square looks like a square based on your viewing angle.

Simulator Sickness

Also referred to as motion sickness. This occurs when your eyes believe you’re moving but your brain doesn’t. The discrepancy is similar to your head swimming after drinking, causing you to become dizzy. Some individuals are inherently more susceptible towards this. Testing out a quality VR headset at an electronics store is highly recommended in order to ensure simulator sickness is not a factor.

Social VR

A shared virtual reality experience where participants can interact with one another in the virtual world.

Stitching

When recording 180-degree or 360-degree videos, multiple cameras are used. The overlapping elements are “stitched” together, in order to create a coherent visual experience. Each camera in a VR rig overlaps to the cameras on the left and right, in order to give the visual information required to stitch these videos together. The panoramic feature of your smart phone uses a similar stitching method to create the longer exposure as it stitches together a burst of images into one.

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