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Best Affordable Tripods for Oculus Sensors

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Image credits: RoadtoVR

Setting up room scale VR may prove to be not as simple as you might initially think. As always, it is a good thoroughly think your setup through in advance. Firstly, lets cover the basics about setting up the motion trackers. Then we will present some of the best affordable tripods for Oculus sensors but also some alternative solutions.

Oculus Sensors placement

After dealing with cable management, you probably don’t want to just leave the Oculus sensors sitting on the ground. Official Oculus recommendation is to place the two cameras on your desk, each on opposite side of the PC monitor. However, the basic setup including two Oculus sensors doesn’t provide room scale tracking! Two cameras ensure precise tracking only if you are facing your monitor, meaning – no room scale VR. This is why you should consider purchasing the third Oculus sensor as a must have Rift accessory.

So basically 3 cameras form a triangle around your virtual playground, enabling precise positional tracking. As shown in the image above, you should keep two sensors in the front corners of the play area, and the one in the back, facing your PC monitor. This setup ensures precise tracking on a roughly 3×3 meters area.

For pin-point accurate tracking and slightly larger playground (4.5m x 4.5m), consider getting the fourth sensor and place them all in a rectangular formation. This isn’t really necessary, just pointing out that with some additional investments, Rift can accommodate anyone’s needs and wishes.

Tripods for Oculus Sensors

Basically, any regular camera tripod will do the trick. Obviously, you’ll need three tripods for Oculus sensors. This may prove to be a financial issue, since professional tripods often cost a lot.

75 Inch (about 6 feet) Alluminum Alloy Tripod

Luckily, there are much better deals at about fraction of the price range. There are several options to browse though. In these images, you can see the ones we at VRBorg consider the best affordable tripods for Oculus sensors.

 

 

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag

If you want to lift the your cameras all the way up to the ceiling, you can also purchase a classic light stand with a maximum height of 7’6″, which comes in a pair. This solution, however, may seem redundant once you’ve checked out our alternative solutions to tripods for Oculus sensors.

Fovitec StudioPRO – 2x 7’6″ Classic Light Stand Kit

Alternatives to tripods for Oculus sensors

If you have high bookshelves in your VR dedicated room, lucky you. These can serve as your Oculus sensor stands.

Regardless, there are plenty of simple and creative ways to mount the sensors on the walls. First thing to do is detach the sensors from their standard stands, which is done by simply unscrewing them. For a wall-mounted setup you will probably need USB extension cables too.

Let’s take a look at our Oculus sensor wall mounting solutions.

Camera Super Clamp Quick Release Pipe Bar Clamp

Made out of solid plastic, this camera mount is clamped to any type of bar or pipe, which may utilize your heating pipe installations for example. The head can be rotated for 360° and the features a knob lock adjustment, which makes it cover virtually any angle.

Adhesive Camera Mount With 1/4″-20 Tripod Thread

A simple and perfectly straightforward solution, and it comes in a pack of 3. Adhesive surface simply sticks to the wall, wherever you choose to place it. Afterwards, simply screw your Oculus sensor to it.

Oculus Rift camera mount (spring tension)

Last but not the least, you can order the 3D printed Oculus sensor mount from thingverse. It uses spring tension to hold the camera in place, you just need a command strip that holds it to the wall.

4 Must Have Accessories for Oculus Rift

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You just got your hands on your Oculus Rift, excitement as well as expectations are through the roof. After an enjoyable VR session, you feel like there are still few things missing to fulfill the experience.

You should have expected something like this to happen, simply because same as for all high end VR headsets, there are some must have accessories for Oculus Rift which you’ll need to purchase in order to get the most out of your device.

Well, let’s get to it! Here is VRborg’s list of 4 must have accessories for Oculus Rift.

Oculus Touch

Oculus Rift Touch controllers
The pair of Oculus Touch motion controllers is an absolute must have!

When Oculus Rift first came out, it shipped with Xbox One controller. Now, for starters, this was OK, however, when Oculus announced the release of motion controllers, most game and app developers had this different input method in mind while creating new content. It took some time until the Oculus Touch became available, but we can now claim, with the utmost certainty, that it was well worth the wait!

The controllers are wireless and they use the good old AA batteries which provide around 30 hours of unobstructed playtime. Positional tracking works perfectly, and the design is very simple yet intelligent, ensuring that using Oculus Touch feels natural.

Oculus Touch is one of the best VR headset-bound motion controller on the market.

Check out the best Oculus Touch deals on Amazon

Oculus Sensor

Achieving complete immersion requires room-scale VR setup. This is made possible by adding the third Oculus Sensor to the two you got in the shipment with the Rift. Now you can probably achieve this by placing the two sensors in the opposite corners of the room, but this method won’t be nearly as accurate.

What you should do is place the two sensors in front of you, and the third one in the back end of your VR playground. Have in mind that the third sensor will require an additional USB 2.0 or higher port. Oculus officially states that three-sensor 360° tracking is fully supported.

Check out the best Oculus Sensor deals on Amazon

HDMI and USB cable extensions

The HDMI cable going out of your headset doesn’t really have much length to work with. Oculus realized this shortly after the release, and on the official Oculus accessories page you can purchase the 4 meter HMD cable. But I mean, come on, it costs $50?! Sure, you can buy it, but I don’t see much reason in paying double, when you can get the Monoprice 10ft HDMI cable extension for less than half of that price.

The same goes for the USB cables, for full room-scale experience, they require extensions too. Luckily there are plenty of options available on Amazon, like this USB 3.0 6 feet extension.

Make sure to check out our tips & tricks on Rift HMD cable management. This may help you work out the appropriate solutions to neatly organize all those cables.

VR Cover

VR Cover makes a bunch of VR accessories designed to improve user’s experience. Effective solution for keeping your Rift foam padding clean is the Oculus Rift VR Cover. The cover is easy to take on and off in-between sessions and can be machine washed when necessary.

They are 100% made of cotton, ensuring you won’t sweat too much during intense VR experiences. The covers come in the set of two ensuring you always have one spare when the other is being washed, and you get a microfiber cleaning cloth. Have in mind that they should be machine washed in cold water (30°).

This very simple product is really useful, especially for people who tend to sweat a lot. The best thing about it costs only $19.

Best Headphones for HTC Vive

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I must admit, it is pretty awful feeling when you realize that the pair of earbuds your HTC Vive came with is trash. I mean, you just got an $800, most feature complete VR headset on the market, and you still have to invest more money in headphones for you to fully enjoy the audio structure virtual-reality has to offer. Now, you might be wondering what are the best headphones for Vive, and how much more money do i have to spend?

Don’t panic, take a deep breath and relax, since some of the best headphones for Vive that made our list are affordable one-time guaranteed to enhance the overall quality of your  VR experience.

HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap

We might as well start off with the official  HTC Vive accessory designed to enhance the user’s experience. It’s called the Deluxe Audio Strap and it’s design is very similar to the Mantis Headphones for PSVR.

This is HTC asking for another $100 in order to upgrade the underwhelming pair of earbuds that came in the shipment box with the Vive. The idea is to amplify the audio dimension adding the structure to the Vive experience. So does HTC deliver? Is the Deluxe Audio Strap worth buying?

In one word, absolutely!

It is all about the Strap

While the product name – Deluxe Audio Strap – may lead you to focus on the audio part, it is actually the strap that stands out with this pair of best headphones for Vive.The build quality of Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is top-notch, utilizing durable, flexible plastic paired with foam for a comfortable fit. Once installed, it makes putting on your HTC Vive headset somewhat more natural, making the headset itself feel like a more cohesive unit.

If you really appreciate the extra comfort in extended gaming sessions, or you just sweat a lot during movement intensive games, you can get the easy to clean HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap Foam Replacement at VR cover.

Fortunately, setting up Deluxe Audio Strap is fairly simple. The step-by-step instruction manual is included. Once you set it up it will make putting on your HTC Vive headset easier and more comfortable each next time. It is the main advantage it has over the other best headphones for HTC Vive that made our list.

The Verdict

The audio quality is what you’d expect from a $100 accessory – legit, but it won’t really blow your mind. Due to the design itself, the outside noise cancelling is impossible. If you wanted to add to the VR immersion with a pair of headphones for Vive by achieving complete outside noise cancelling, keep scrolling down.

Why you really want to buy HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is as a Vive user’s quality of life improvement. For an enthusiast that has spent $800 to get the most feature-complete VR headset broadly available today, spending another $100 for both improving the comfort and the audio of the complete Vive experience, sounds like a good deal!

Check out the best Deluxe Audio Strap deals on Amazon

Bose SoundTrue around-ear headphones II

Bose is a company well known for making high-quality audio equipment. Bose SoundTrue around-ear headphones II is just another proof of this. These headphones deliver solid audio experience, which paired with lightweight build and exceptional comfort make them a worthy addition to our list of best headphones for HTC Vive.

Sleek Design

Bose SoundTrue come in all-black matte finish. The headband is made out of lightweight metal which is, of course, padded, ensuring SoundTrue remains comfortable. The top is covered with some sort of artificial leather material which feels very smooth when touched, leaving a great first impression. The underside of the headband feels as soft as a pillow.

The bulky earcups are covered with comfortable sweat-preventing foam padding ensuring a comfortable fit. They also feature a twisting mechanism, enabling you to rotate them for 90 degrees. Memory foam on the inside of the ear cups ensures the perfect fit. Also, the hinges on the sides allow you to stretch the headphones, if required.

The around-ear design may suggest that you get the outside noise cancelling with a pair of SoundTrue headphones, but this isn’t entirely true.

If you want to add a pair of complete noise cancelling headphones and improve the overall Vive experience, check out the Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones. The design is similar, but somewhat upgraded, though these beauties will cost you some extra cash.

The Verdict

The audio performance of Bose SoundTrue II delivers crisp highs and rich bass. The one really annoying thing about them is the 5.5 feet long cable, which is fortunately detachable, and you can simply get a shorter cable. Comfort level is exceptional, and while lightweight plastic may suggest a cheap build, this is far from true, as Bose SoundTrue headphones are constructed incredibly well.

 

In descriptions of the product you may see that it is made for Apple/Android devices, but this only stands for setting up the mic, so this won’t be an issue if you want to buy these headphones for your Vive.

The design is minimalistic, yet striking, and if you also want to use them with your phone, they will look good on you while wearing them on the go!

Check out the best Bose SoundTrue deals on Amazon

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Another pair of viable headphones for Vive created with comfort in mind. A bulky, flashy and in-your-face design with bold color scheme choice will make you either love or hate Audio-Technica ATH-M50x at first sight. Accordingly, it delivers powerful bass which some might find overemphasised, while others will love it.

It’s bulky, but i like it!

Compliments to the developers for manufacturing a solid casing for the headphones, securing a strong first impression. Once you open the shipment, it may seem that Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones would weigh a ton, but the truth is that they are so lightweight you’ll barely notice you are wearing them. The comfort is exceptional, yet the tight fit is also accomplished, so you won’t have to worry about them falling off your head while you are immersed in your favourite VR activities.

The ear cups also feature the ability to swivel for 90 degrees, ensuring the perfect fit and enhanced audio experience. Foam padding feels soft and comfortable, wrapped around your ears, and the headphones themselves have a mid-firm grip. The cable is fortunately detachable, so you can replace it with the shorter one.

The Verdict

Surprisingly, while Audio-Technica ATH-M50x features huge around the ear leather cups, the sound isolation is just ok. However, the audio quality is great for a pair of mid-range headphones, and the comfort is top-notch. The build quality is good, and the headphones seem very durable.

Honestly, I can see why Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are rated so highly in general, but also as one of the best headphones for Vive. There is no competition below the $200 price range that even comes close to these. If you are on a limited budget, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are a solid choice!

Check out the best Audio-Technica ATH-M50x deals on Amazon

Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones

 

Sennheiser is known to be the top-dog when it comes to making audio equipment for a very long time. Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones are a high-end product which delivers incredibly rich sound with excellent detail, and you can even purchase them in the Pink Floyd version. It is far from an “on the budget” solution tough, but they’re well worth the price you pay for them.

 

Now you are probably wondering what the hell would you spend so much on a pair of headphones? Well, besides the realization of why Sennheiser blows the competition in the headphone industry, these are probably THE best headphones for HTC Vive.

Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones come with active noise cancellation, providing complete immersion while you’re enjoying your Vive sessions. The design is minimalistic, yet at the first glance and especially touch, you can see that this pair’s build quality is superb. Ear cups and the headband are padded with genuine leather, which means even action packed VR activities won’t be an issue.

Check out the best Sennheiser HD1 deals on Amazon

If this product caught your attention but you feel that $500 for a pair of headphones is a bit too much, you probably want to check out Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 for a more affordable, yet almost as good solution.

Everything You Need to Know About Pimax 5K/8K – Do We Have a Real Second Generation Headset?

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If you’re calling yourself a VR enthusiast, you must have heard about Pimax, the headset that has sent ripples through the VR world. SO what is precisely Pimax, and what does it offer? Do we really have a next-generation headset on our hands? Answers to these questions and many more will be given in this rather lengthy post, so keep on reading.

Who are the guys behind Pimax?

Pimax is developed by a team of researchers based in Shanghai, China. The company has already produced a  Pimax 4K VR headset and shipped it in excess of 30 000 copies, so that fact alone gives the company some credibility and faith in its ability to deliver what has been promised and showcased.

The company has recently decided to step up its game and deliver a product that would wrestle the title from Oculus and Vive as the most powerful VR headset on the market, or so they claim.

Display

Pimax 8K resolution
Pimax 8K compared to Oculus and Vive

There are two versions of the product: 8K and 5K, the Pimax 5K alone ups the ante with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels per eye, 90 Hz refresh rate and a 200-degree field of view, while Pimax 8K takes it even further with an impressive resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 per eye with the same FOV. Just for comparison, both Vive and Oculus have 1,080 x 1,200 pixels per eye, with a 110-degree field of view and a refresh rate of 90 Hz.

As we can see from the get-go, Pimax is simply dominating the other two, with significantly higher resolution, pixel density, not to mention increased FOV which has collected widespread applause (but more on that later).

Its Kickstarter Campaign has sent shockwaves across the VR community, and rightly so, as the product specifications put it in the top tier of headsets in existence.

The campaign itself was small in scope, only $200,000. It’s a small amount to ask for a product this demanding on the manufacturer’s side. The main purpose of the campaign was probably visibility. They most certainly succeeded in that task. The campaign has drawn in almost 6,000 backers with over $4.2 million USD collected. The scope of the campaign, as well as the amount raised, points to the demand for a strong VR headset that would raise the bar for high-end VR headsets available on the market.

Pimax 8K headset prototypes have already been demonstrated on major exhibitions and conventions. The team’s burning desire was for quite some time to deliver a better headset to VR enthusiasts around the world. The passion they have is clear from all the given interviews. Their sincerity is evident by the amount of care they put in answering all the questions backers may have on their reddit page as well as in official forum.

However, there are still many questions left unanswered. Pimax 8K headset, if proven stable, will truly be a challenge to surpass. On the flipside, the company was rather unknown before launching the Kickstarter campaign. For this reason alone, many doubt their ability to actually manufacture a fully functional product and deliver on their promises.

Worlds first 8K VR headset you say? Oh..really?

Pimax 8K specifications

 

Now, the first thing that will catch your eye is the sensational headline of 8K resolution display, but that claim would be…inaccurate, to say the least. Now, we will ascribe that statement to their over-zealousness and let it slide…for now.

Hopefully, the manufacturers will come to a realization that such marketing statements will only provide a target for critics, and will ultimately lead to a self-sabotage. An 8K monitor typically displays 7680×4320 pixels. The combined display resolution of Pimax 8K is 2*3840×2160, or 7680×2160. This is a full 8K display horizontally, but only half the pixels vertically, so per eye, you get a 2K*4K display, or combined 8K*2K.

Just look at the difference…

The input of Pimax 8K is 5K upscaled to 8K, meaning, that it takes the input from graphics card of 2*2560×1440 and then it upscales the image to 4K*2K, so the original input is much lower than the final display. This means that, while the display is 4K*2K, the original input is actually not 4K per eye, but much less.

The reason behind that is obvious: rendering such a big image would require an enormous computational power. Additionally, transferring the original 4K*2K image from the graphics card to the headset requires a very capable cable. This means that the original resolution is not 8K, so you’re rendering a stretched image. The reason why behind that decision is an obvious one, the task of rendering such an image would require massive workload on GPU. And let’s not even begin talking about how even the most high-end commercial graphics cards would handle prolonged abuse like that.

There is Pimax 8K X in development, which will accept display’s native resolution of 7680×2160 and display it with no scaling. However, it is still a work in progress that would require a next-generation graphics card, at least an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti(probably even Nvidia Volta).

Specifications

Since the load on cables is so great, the manufacturer has opted in for using DisplayPort 1.4 connectors for their Pimax 8K and Pimax 8K X headsets, and will provide adapters so you can use HDMI port.

There is a shroud of mystery surrounding the Pimax 8K X at the moment, with many unresolved questions. There’s no info whether the users will be able to choose the input resolution (in case they do not possess such a strong graphics card), as well as its release date.

Hopefully, if everything goes according to their schedule released on Kickstarter campaign, it will be shipped in the second quarter of  2018. It is unclear whether it will even be commercially viable, since it hasn’t been completely tested yet, and the market for such a powerful headset might be lacking in the nearest future.

Furthermore, in the world of Pimax itself, they say: “Based on our comparison test, there is no obvious difference in terms of gaming experience between 8K and X, but X demands much more powerful GPU”.

BrainWarp – what is that?

Pimax Brainwarp
Brainwarp

For a better VR experience, as well as for the purpose of reducing hardware requirements to run Pimax 8K headset, they developed a set of technologies called Brainwarp. Brainwarp is similar to asynchronous reprojection, meaning it is used for rendering and displaying image in a sequence.

It is accomplished through fast switching between left and right eye, rendering (150/180 times per second) so fast that the eye can’t perceive it, but significant in that it is possible to run it with a graphics card such as GTX980/1070. The benefits are immense: boosted refresh rate, reduced latency and decreased GPU pressure, all resulting in a smoother VR experience.

Have the motion sickness and screen door effect been eliminated?

The thing that has been bothering a great many VR players across the world, ever since Oculus first came into being, was screen door effect. The SDE has become a scourge since then, plaguing every VR headset since, but has its reign come to an end?

People behind the Pimax 5K and 8K headset claim so, and many people who have tried it support that claim. It has not disappeared completely, but compared to the Vive, the differences are drastic. It is still visible if you were to look for it, but it is not nearly as noticeable as with Oculus or Vive, where you’re constantly aware of it in the back of your mind. Since the pixel density is so dramatically improved over its two counterparts (if they can be regarded as such in the area of pure resolution), SDE can be considered to be reduced to a minimal, almost unnoticeable levels.

One other significant downfall of using VR headsets for prolonged periods of time is that feeling of nausea. It can take from a couple of minutes to half an hour to develop, depending on how accustomed you are to the headset. Pimax claims they have eliminated motion sickness, but none agree to that claim.

According to guys at Linus Tech Tips, motion sickness developed after only a couple of minutes, but he gives an educated claim as to why. You see, the whole purpose of a VR headset is to fool the brain into believing that the images projected into display are actually that of real space surrounding us, but since the current headsets are limited by today’s technology they cannot fool our brain completely.

So, even though we can perceive the image as stereoscopic and even believe that we are in fact standing in space, since the images cannot respond to our inputs in real time, as is the case in real life, our brain feels something is not quite right…the result of which is the motion sickness, a nauseating feeling after prolonged play. Not to mention that increased Field of Vision of 200-degrees significantly increases its effects.

Most of the motion sickness, according to guys at Linus, comes from slightly distorted display, which does not respond as fast to the head movements, especially when moving the head up and down. But, Pimax made a statement that the product sent to customers will feature new and improved lenses, so we can hope that motion sickness will not be such a big issue.

That’s all sweet and dandy, so what are the benefits of having a Pimax 8k headset?

One thing all those who have been graced with the opportunity to put the magnificent Pimax 8K headset upon their heads agree is that amazing Field of Vision. The human eye has a natural 220-degree of vision, so when using Oculus and Vive, which both have 110-degree, you see black edges around the screen and you have an effect of looking through the scuba mask. No more.

Pimax has truly stepped up its game by producing headset with an incredible 200-degree FOV, making it almost identical to the one we naturally have, and thus almost completely eliminating black edges at the border of the screen.

Now, you can use your peripheral vision as is naturally intended, which has an effect of a greater feeling of immersion, unlike any other. That is the one thing everyone agrees about. The increased FOV is simply great and is a step in the right direction. The FOV per eye is 140 degrees with a binocular overlap of 80 degrees, quite good compared to our natural 120-degree overlap.

One very important thing to point out would be the fact that Pimax’s screens are angled towards each other, and SteamVR currently does not support that. That might be the cause for the visible distortion some reviewers have complained about, and could easily be completely eliminated in future.

Thanks to significantly increased FOV and high-resolution, Pimax 8K also produces incredibly sharp images and crisp, readable text, last of which was a special pain for many.

What is the display and lens quality?

Now..that is AMAZING!

Contrary to what you may expect, the displays are not OLED, but LCD, a special version of LCD display called customized low persistence liquid, or CLPL for short, which they produced together with a partner. While they claim that its performance is on par with OLED, that is simply not the case. OLED is much better in areas of contrast and brightness and in response time which is almost instant, while the LCD, at best, lags a couple of milliseconds.

The OLED display has the most visible advantage over LCD in games with a dark background, but in those with brightly colored backgrounds, the differences are unnoticeable. Nevertheless, LCD monitors have been in the industry for years. Although they don’t offer the same brightness and contrast, it is good enough, so much that it shouldn’t be an issue.

Unlike some headsets on the market, which have one display split in half for right and left eye, Pimax has two distinct 4K displays. Some people pointed out the possibility of the overlapping of lenses as a potential issue, but many reviews reported no such thing as blurring and no distortion at all.

Also, lenses have far fewer god rays than the Rift, meaning the color does not have that glaring attribute which makes each object stand out much more distinctively to the viewer, so we see an improvement in that area. Also, some of the reviewers reported distortion of the lenses at the edges, but only slightly. When you’re particularly looking for it, you will notice it, but even that might not be an issue since Pimax has reported that the lenses used in the final product will be even more improved.

One thing reviewers did point out is the fact that, although the Kickstarter campaign clearly advertises that Pimax can run smoothly at 90 Hz, and it theoretically can, games were not run on that refresh rate, but one closer to 80Hz. Stability is an issue and will require more testing on their part to provide a stable 90Hz display.

As they said in the post:
The display panel supports 90Hz according to its specification, and it has proven a stable 90Hz in another project. The display port is DP1.4 and the chip we used supports DP1.4 as well. So theoretically, Pimax 8K can support 90Hz.

But the stability is much important because our HMD should work out of the lab in thousands of computers condition. In the past two weeks, we have done more stress tests from 75Hz to 85Hz base on V3 hardware (latest DP 1.4 solution). Up to now, the 80Hz is confirmed stable. 82Hz just pass the initial test standard. And now we’re trying to optimize on 85Hz and 87Hz. Since 90Hz is the upper limit of the whole system

One of the most important factors, which influences the level of immersion would be Motion Response Time, or plainly the time it takes for an image to change according to the player movements. Lower Motion Response Time equals better immersion, as well as lower effects of Motion Sickness.

The whole equation for Motion Response Time goes like this:
MTP = sensor response time + GPU rendering time + 1/refresh rate + display switching time

Many agreed that MTR could be improved, and as we can see refresh rate is one of the factors, so by providing a stable 90Hz display MTR would be significantly lowered.

How about the tracking solutions?

Tracking solutions

The headset was designed to support both outside-in tracking as well as inside-out tracking solution with a module to support it. It is compatible with all Valve accessories and it will be sold as a SteamVR Tracking 2.0 device. That means it has the new Triad Semiconductor sensors which will work with Lighthouse stations v1 and v2. The outside-in tracking is based on cutting-edge laser technology which provides minimal latency. You can switch between PiTracking mode and Steam Compatible mode.

In addition, Pimax has promised a house-scale (>50 sqm) tracking which will be enabled with a new module. In addition, the company claims that headset will work with only one base station!

What about the other Pimax 8K accessories?

Pimax accessories

Pimax 8K is designed as a modular headset, so you can add custom built-in lenses, with the possibility of adding many compatible accessories. These are open for development by third party vendors, and the company itself has many planned (some of which are already in production) such as:

  • cooling fan
  • hand motion module
  • scent enabling
  • customized VR frame
  • headband with earphones
  • eye tracking module
  • extendable interface
  • wireless transmission (so they claim)
  • inside-out tracking

There is no doubt that Pimax is aiming for greatness, and adding only some of these features will greatly improve your VR experience. Some of these modules are already existent, such as integrated audio and hands tracking.

Scent enabling is developed by a third party vendor, same as eye tracking. Eye tracking module would, if done as intended, use an infrared laser to follow pupils. This would be achieved while using a headset, so that the image at the center of the vision would be rendered clear, while the periphery of your vision would be blurred, as is the case in natural sight. That is one of the examples when blurring might come in handy, for a change. Inside-out tracking would make the headset usable without the Lighthouse stations, but it is probably a work in progress.

Wireless transmission might only be their wish, as there is no possibility they could be rendering 4K transmission wirelessly. So, if it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen.

Hand tracking has been made in partnership with Leap Motion and, according to users, works great. By the looks of the reports, the tracking is stable and the range is wide.

The decision to make Pimax a modular headset is a great one, who knows how many accessories will be developed and thus greatly increase the value of Pimax ecosystem!

Controller

 

Pimax Controller
Knuckles

Undoubtedly, the quality of a controller is an issue of great importance, there is nothing more irritating than a clumsy controller to break your immersion while playing your favorite game. Pimax comes with controllers which look like exact copies of Vive controllers, albeit with significantly lower quality.

It seems that most of the money was used in an effort to produce the best headset possible. During the time of their Kickstarter campaign, Pimax has released images of their new controllers, which were made similar to Valve’s new Knuckles controllers, so hopefully, their tracking capabilities, as well as overall ease of use, will be on par.

Headset build and comfort

When you look at the photos of Pimax 8K headset, one of the things that cross your mind is what kind of feeling would it be to wear it. The people behind Pimax have taken that into consideration, so they designed a headset which is lauded by everyone as super comfortable, with a great distribution of weight, making it very light to wear.

For all those who wear glasses, you can keep them on while wearing the headset. Furthermore, you will be able to order prescription lenses on the Pimax website, and to attach magnetic lenses adapter inside the Pimax headset, which will allow you a greater level of comfort.

The padding of the headset is soft and replaceable and the straps will be similar to the Vive’s Deluxe Audio Strap. All of these combined provide a headset with a level of comfort equal to that of a Vive headset, if not greater.

Interpupillary distance adjustment

IPD adjustment will be possible in the final product, but the current prototype did not implement it, so we can only judge its implementation after the headset has been shipped.

Will I be able to play the existing games on Pimax 8K since it uses greater FOV?

Steam comptability remains a question

The question that has got many VR enthusiast worried is, due to Pimax featuring 200-degree FOV, will the developers need to update the existing games for them to be playable on Pimax headset?

Some games have their standard parameters hardcoded, so they cannot support the 200-degree FOV and result in a warped image, since the Pimax stretches the image further from the center to provide an increased FOV. It has to be taken into account that current SteamVR games are made for 110-degrees FOV, but players need not be alarmed just yet.

Although the SteamVR runtime takes the game output and converts it to a 110-degree FOV, the games themselves are not locked into 110 degrees FOV (except a few). Therefore, it quite possible there won’t be any warping of the images present. There is a possibility SteamVR will have to make a few updates to its runtime.

Fruit Ninja rendered at 110.degrees
Fruit Ninja rendered on Pimax 8K

The guys at Pimax have sent a screenshot that proves that the 200-degree image truly shows more of the environment, but the warping effect might still be present since the games were not designed with a 200 FOV in mind. There is no doubt that in the near future, that won’t be an issue at all, since the game developers will take the new platform into account.

However, to avoid any unwanted backlashes from the hardcore fans of published games, Pimax has announced that they have taken into consideration an option to let the players choose the rendering FOV, leaving no place for any warping and distortion.

What is the biggest difference between Pimax 8K and Pimax 5K?

In a nutshell, resolution. Pimax 5K is a lite version of Pimax 8K and provides 2*2586×1440 the results of which are 7.4 million pixels compared to that of 16.6 million pixels of Pimax 8K. Pimax 5K has the same 200 FOV, the same modular design and is the same in all regards except in resolution and price.

One question remains unanswered still, though. In their Kickstarter campaign, they have said that Pimax 5K will be shipped with OLED displays, but have since given up on that option and decided to go with the same CLPL (Customized Low Persistence Fluid) monitors which are used in Pimax 8K, so at this point it is not known whether the original backers of Pimax 5K will receive OLED or CLDC displays.

The latest information is that they will be given an option to choose which display will be used, so hopefully, that will be the case, since some of the backers decided precisely for that version of the headset because of its OLED display.

If you’re having doubts whether to buy Pimax 8K or 5K, that decision will have to be made at the time the product becomes viable for commercial use. However, if the only difference ends up being resolution, then the only decision would be whether or not you will be ready to cough up a few extra shekels for better resolution. My reasoning is, if you’re opting for a headset with the best resolution available, why not go all the way?

So…what kind of PC do I have to have to use Pimax 8K headset?

You have decided to buy it, you want to use it… but wait, can you even run it? The mere fact that the resolution is much bigger than the current-gen headsets is an indicator just how monstrous the PC gaming rig requirements will be to even approach the Pimax 8K. But, don’t get scared just yet. Thanks to their BrainWave technology, as well as the fact that Pimax is actually using upscaled 5K input, the minimum requirements for running a Pimax 8K headset are quite reasonable:

  • GPU: GTX980/1070
  • CPU: i5
  • RAM: 8GB

Pimax 8K X is another story. The mythical creature it is, it has not shown its face in the light of day, but at the very minimum, the requirements are:

  • GPU: GTX1080 Ti (still being tested for stability, probably closer to the truth would be 1080Ti SLI or even Nvidia Volta)
  • CPU: i7
  • RAM: 16GB

As most of you are well aware, VR gaming is a privilege reserved for those fortunate ones who are able to equip themselves with gaming rigs fit with latest advancements in technology. It seems that the Pimax 8K has put a reasonable demand on the user, while Pimax 8K X will prove to be a force to be reckoned with even for the best gaming rigs out there.

Well, I admit, you got me hooked. Where and when can I buy that Pimax 8K you keep talking about?

Whoa, whoa… hold there partner. I know, I know, I’m the marketer Pimax team wish they had in their ranks, but don’t go waving that money in front of me yet!

You see, cowboy, the pre-order Kickstarter campaign is finished, so if you want to put your hands on that Pimax bad boy, you will have to stand in line like everybody else. When and where, it is still unclear, since the Pimax team wants to play fair, first they will fulfill their obligations to all the campaign backers, and only after that is taken care of, the commercial product will be put on the shelves.

The commercial version Pimax 8K headset will be, according to their words, „better packaged and crafted, and the price would be different“. Surely they will make a few adjustments based on the feedback from their backers, but the differences in the final product will probably not be that big. Also, the build of the headset will hopefully be more on the quality side, since the cheap plastic doesn’t feel all that great.

So, how much does the Kickstarter version of Pimax 8K cost?

Pimax 8K, on their official campaign, sold for $499, while 8K X was $699, and the lite version 5K was going for 399$. For an extra $300 backers were offered the full package bundle, which included Lighthouse stations and controllers. That might not seem like a bargain, but considering a significant bump in quality and performance, it is a reasonable price to pay.

The features that got people off their knickers are incredible resolution, together with amazing FOV, the results of which are increased immersion into the world of VR. Compared to Pimax 8K, Oculus and Vive really look outdated.

Do we truly have a second generation VR headset on our hands?

That remains to be seen. There is no doubt that Pimax has upped the ante in the world of VR, the bar has been raised, the glove has been thrown, the challenge has been issued. A slap has been delivered across the face of both Oculus and Vive, so it remains to be seen what kind of surprise Vive 2 has in store for us.

The guys at HTC will have to tackle the increased FOV and resolution, which make Pimax 8K stand out so drastically, or they will risk being in the shadows of a new giant in town. That guy Pimax is going places they say. Better throw a worthy fight, or step out of the way.

All in all, Pimax has produced a headset that has taken the current technology to its limits, all in an effort to produce a more immersive VR experience. Pimax 8K is not perfect, there is still ground to cover, but the guys there want to make a name for themselves and to truly build a brand worthy of the legacy.

Hopefully, Pimax will become a new platform filled with new modules and brimming with games which will truly utilize its capabilities!

Top YouTube VR Channels – VR-oriented YouTube Channel Recommendations

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Top YouTube VR Channels

YouTube has been a hub for VR videos from way back in 2015. That’s when Google first added support for 3D and 360 degree VR to YouTube. The VR videos available number in the thousands, and range from 360 degree videos of adventure sports, to complete 3D simulations of space, alternate dimensions, or the insides of a cell. This proliferation of videos means that anyone with a Google Cardboard or a Daydream has a massive collection of viewable material to draw on.

Somehow, the way Google has set things up, the age of VR is truly here, with everyone on the planet becoming a potentia++l contributor. This is especially true with 360 degree and VR cameras becoming increasingly affordable. And there’s no doubt that the hardware and technology is only going to become cheaper in future – VR is mainstream, and here to stay. And YouTube does seem to be one of the most accessible sites for free content on the web today.

VR oriented YouTube Channel Recommendations

However, with such a profusion of content available, it might be a little difficult to pick and choose. Of course, you could simply take the plunge and explore random videos. But here are some of our favorite videos and channels on YouTube.

GoPro

This channel has a good – and ever increasing – selection of excellent content. Go Pro videos contain everything from extreme sports, to wildlife conservation and nature appreciation, with everything possible in-between as well. Skydiving, cooking, even a Chinese Lion Dance – GoPro has it all. Definitely recommended. But see for yourself.

If even snowboarding down a steep mountainside is too tame for you, here’s how it feels to fly a jetpack…


William Briscoe Photography

Like GoPro, William Briscoe Photography deals in stunning visuals, but while GoPro is focused upon the experience, William focuses upon the aesthetics. Go to this channel if you love stunning visuals, and shots of nature, the aurora, or even the stars that few mortals will ever be privileged to see.

If you found watching the charged particles riding the solar wind interacting with our planet’s atmosphere in an aurora an uplifting experience, then you’ll love this view of our galaxy itself.

And those videos have set the stage for the next channel on our list…


NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

This is a great channel for anyone with a genuine curiosity about space, and about NASA’s mission to reach the worlds, and perhaps the stars. NASA has been creating incredible 3D videos for years, all of them being in the public domain, but these are 360 degree videos on the cutting edge of NASA’s greatest achievements, like the Mars rovers or the Cassini Spacecraft. The videos are a brilliant combination of the educational and the awe-inspiring.

Join NASA as it takes robots where no robot has gone before.


IGN VR

IGN VR is the gaming-dedicated VR channel. The channel lets you experience just about every virtual reality game out there, and actually creates its own custom content as well. Every genre of VR gaming is represented here – VR swordplay, first-person shooters, even horror. You name it, it’s there, to Mario and beyond. There are new videos to match each new release, and content is continuously updated.

That too rough – or tame – for you? Try a different genre of digital violence…

Was that too uncivilized? Take a break from all the gratuitous violence to appreciated some finely-engineered machines.


Roadshow

The Roadshow is the go-to channel for the motor enthusiast. While there are literally tens of thousands of conventional videos showcasing not only cars but just about every moving device invented by humanity, Roadshow has moved this genre into virtual reality. Now you can not only look at a vehicle, you can learn what it feels like to be in the driving seat as the car of your dreams does what it does best. There’s a continuously expanding pool of content on the channel, so head over to the Roadshow…  and enjoy the show. To get you started, here’s a 360 degree tour of Tesla’s state-of-the-art production facility.


NYT VR

It’s only right that a news channel be on our list. The New York Times has been aggressively expanding on the 360 degree content on its channel. The range of videos is incredible. You can watch an artist making wood-cuts, or para-glide in Peru, or watch young Ukrainians train to defend their nation. Or you can visit a concept creation of what a vehicle designed to transport humans across the surface of an alien world might be like.

Feeling contemplative? Explore Thoreau’s vision of Walden pond…

Of course, these are only the pick of a great many more wonderful channels out there hosting VR and 360 degree videos, but this selection is certainly representative. You see that, no matter what your area of interest, VR can augment your experience and knowledge of it by allowing you to be… at different points in space and time from your physical reality.