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Though most of the latest and greatest VR headsets are still in the development or demonstration phase, there are several models that are available now for general use.

Best Options for VR Beginners

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A VR beginner, as defined here, is someone who primarily wants to experience what VR is all about without necessarily having to invest a significant amount of money. Even a life-long techie might find it worthwhile to invest $12.99 for an NFCGuyz Google Cardboard kit. The Google kit works similar to the pricier Samsung Gear, and the software and apps are free. You can however take a step up, and purchase the more durable I Am Cardboard EVA foam model for around $35.00, though you definitely will not look cool while wearing one.

Best Option for Gamers

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Sony’s Project Morpheus leads the pack here, which is not surprising in that it is specifically designed for the gaming world, and for use with PlayStation 4 hardware. Since it is tied to PlayStation, Sony Morpheus’ use might be limited in the future, although dedicated gamers are not apt to mind. Several of the other makes and models can be used for games as well, but users are apt to find the Sony Morpheus more to their liking.

Best Options for Developers

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The two best options for developers are the Oculus Rift and the Samsung’s Gear, with the latter having been developed in collaboration with Oculus. Weight is still a problems with the Rift, and the wearer is tethered to a PC tower, while the Gear employs a Galaxy 4 display that can be mounted with a wireless headset. Nevertheless, the Oculus VR appears to be leading the pack. Its open hardware and software architecture makes it an ideal device for developers to experiment with.

Since the Samsung Gear can only be used with the Galaxy Note 4, it cannot be connected to a PC, which places limits on the wearer’s experience. It’s 2560 x 1440 high resolution screen is a definite plus however, as is a steadily increasing amount of Oculus app store content, making the Gear a nice starter for a developer. Another possible option is the Razer OSVR, which also employs open source hardware and software, and is becoming increasingly popular in the hobbyist and development communities.

Best Option for Professionals

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Virtual Reality technology shows great promise for use in many different professions as both a design and analysis aid. Although there is still a long way to go before VR comes into widespread professional use, the Microsoft Holo Lens is a step in the right direction. The Holo Lens is not a true VR device. It overlays data on top of real objects, thereby merging virtual reality with reality. The Holo Lens could be a real game-changer when used as a rapid prototyping tool.

Most of the current VR devices are still in various stages of development, with the exception of those used primarily for gaming. The widespread use of open architecture has enabled many devotees of the technology to actively participate. It would not be all that surprising to see a number of VR device start-up companies appear on the horizon in the not-to-distant future.

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