Throughout our lives, we’ve seen a massive leap in gaming technology. From the beginning of using the most basic of games consoles, we’ve travelled into a futuristic level of gaming. With unique technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, we’re now using technology that will help us escape the gaming experience using Head-Mounted Displays.

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So what exactly are head-mounted displays?

Throughout our lives, we’ve seen a massive leap in gaming technology. From the beginning of using the most basic of games consoles, we’ve travelled into a futuristic level of gaming. With unique technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, we’re now using technology that will help us escape the gaming experience using Head-Mounted Displays. 

HMDs are devices worn on the head, similar to glasses or helmets, that display pictures and moving images. The most recognisable Head Mounted Displays we know today are the Samsung Gear VR, Playstation VR and Oculus Rift. The gaming world has taken over the HMD market by releasing new headsets and creating a new way to game, so it feels more realistic. You can play the game and feel as though you have been transported to the world or location of your choice and interact with real-life-sized CGI (computer-generated images) characters.

These devices are for giving movies a more realistic feel. 

Where you can switch off to anything else around and view the movie as if you were inside of it. Head-mounted displays were first prototyped in the 1960s to simulate walking through the park or being on the moon.

That fits into our everyday life as the gaming community has taken to this technology quickly. According to statista.com, in 2016, head-mounted displays accounted for 78 per cent of global HMD sales. Five million virtual reality headsets were sold worldwide in 2016. 

What are the advantages?

A significant advantage of using HMDs is that they give you a better experience where you feel you are in the environment you see through the headset. It offers players a whole depth experience of the game by using motion controllers or moving your head to see a full 360-degree view of the digital map. 

Military service members use HMDs to dissociate distressing triggers in combat by immersing them in VR scenarios, eventually helping them to deal with PTSD and ultimately helping them to fit into society better. They are used to treat people as therapy for phobias or physical rehabilitation. Phobias with things such as animals, objects or environments are treated using HMDs to help them by exposing them to their fear without really exposing them. 

One great use of this technology is in the medical and military fields. These use the screens for procedure simulators, drills and surgery simulations. That allows people to practise in a safe environment, without damaging anyone.

Are there any disadvantages?

HMDs can set you back a substantial amount of money, even the simplest versions of these are costly. We want to experience these things first-hand, but with a price like this, it may not be worth it. With the oculus costing $599 (excluding its motion controllers), this is a significant setback. 

Looking at the flip side of the coin, where HMDs can help veterans after the command, this can also worsen ex-military. Due to being simulated into a combat environment, using technology as advanced as this can have adverse effects, whether used for ex-military training or simply to overcome phobias. A patient’s mind can be unpredictable, resulting in more trauma if the simulation is not tolerable, which will inevitably cause a negative outcome. 

We see HMDs in movies and advertisements on TV and want to experience them first-hand. There are many possibilities of where this technology can take us. In the last ten years, we never could have expected what we have today, so what can we expect in the next ten years? How do you think technology will revolutionise us next?

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