VR 101: A virtual reality glossary

Some commonly used terminology and technology when talking about virtual reality:

Augmented Reality
Having an overlay of virtual elements over top a real world view.  Not necessarily tracked to real world spacing (ie: the objects may appear in the same place no matter where you turn your head).

Google Cardboard
Google’s mobile platform for virtual reality. Compatible with most new smart phones. Typically sit down or look around experiences.

Google Daydream
Google’s next level up from Google Cardboard in their development in virtual reality. The Daydream is a headset and is only compatible with certain mobile phones.

HMD (Head Mounted Display)
Commonly used to refer to the headset that someone uses as a display for a virtual reality experience. Generally uses straps that wrap around a person’s head so the display is sturdily mounted for viewing.

HTC Vive
A higher end virtual reality headset by HTC that uses lighthouse technology for room scale tracking. Requires a virtual reality ready PC, usually alluding to a higher graphics card requirement.

The ability to fully believe that a person is in the virtual experience – usually accomplished with sound isolation, proper tracking and a well-developed application.

Currently one of the hurdles in virtual reality development – being able to move in a virtual space without making the user experience motion sickness, or making the movement believable.

Microsoft Hololens
Microsoft’s mixed reality device that uses a headband device with a display that creates virtual objects and displays in a user’s real world environment. Typically the elements are tracked to real world elements.

Mixed Reality
Similar to augmented reality where there are virtual elements in a real world view, but the virtual elements are more interactive or mapped with real world spacing and physical obstacles.

Oculus Rift
A headset developed by Oculus VR. The company also has its own store for applications. Originally launched on a Kickstarter, the headset went into release with sit down experiences, but later released plans for room scale capability.

Room scale
The ability to experience virtual spaces by physically moving in an open real world space. This usually allows the room scale virtual experience seem more realistic.

Samsung Gear VR
Samsung’s virtual reality device that uses the company’s own mobile phones for the viewing screen. The hardware has controls on the outside that are directly connected to the phone.

Valve’s software developed with HTC for use with the HTC Vive. Fully supports 360 views and room scale.