Latest and Best hardware in VR/AR/MR

Latest in VR

  1. Oculus Quest 2
  2. Sony PlayStation VR
  3. HTC Vive Cosmos
  4. Valve Index
  5. Windows Mixed Reality

Latest in AR

  1. Microsoft HoloLens 2
  2. Magic Leap One
  3. Epson Moverio
  4. Google Glass Enterprise Edition
  5. Vuzix Blade AR

Latest in MR

  1. Samsung HMD Odyssey+
  2. HP Reverb
  3. Windows Mixed Reality
  4. Microsoft HoloLens 2
  5. Avegant Lightfield

Best in VR: Oculus Quest 2

⁃ Self-contained VR headset. No wires that may cause tripping
⁃ Thumb rest on motion controllers. So it is easier for users to hold. during longer sessions.

⁃ Intuitive set-up and safety system. It is self-contained, with no external wires, hence setting up takes only 5-10 minutes. Users can also highlight safe playing areas that makes external environment visible when users step out of playing areas.

⁃ Facebook account requirement and Google Cast headset Display sharing function. These functions allow for better social experience of playing with peers as they can be immersed in the same gaming experience.

⁃ Access to PC VR Experience (with Oculus Link). This provides higher quality gaming experience as users can link to gaming PC with good specifications. The titles available to users are also increased.

⁃ Easily navigable. Menu system resembles a floating panel on. Virtual environment, navigation motion is smooth and comfortable.

Hardware Specifications
⁃ Single LCD panel, split to display an 1832 x 1920 pixel per eye. High-resolution display.
⁃ Built-in speakers. Speakers are built in headset’s strap support to offer directional left and right stereo sounds. This feature provides a greater and a more precise stimulation of auditory senses.

⁃ Battery-powered, standalone headset. Proves greater ease of movement.
⁃ Option to run games at 90Hz (reforest rate of 90 times per second). This is slower than the usual 120Hz speed, reducing motion sickness and thus greater comfort and realism .

Best in MR: Samsung HMD Odyssey+

Hardware Specifications
⁃ High resolution: 1440×1660 resolution in each eye with 3.5-inch AMOLED displays
⁃ Refresh Rate: 90Hz refresh rate

⁃ FOV: 110-degree field-of-view. The degree is close to our natural FOV of 200 degree, which cuts down the crammed feeling of looking into a tunnel, thereby ensuring a more immersive experience
⁃ Sound Quality: built-in AKG headphones on the headband which allows for greater stimulation of the auditory senses.

⁃ Wider nose guard and eye box. Easier for those with prescription glasses to wear. Additionally, this means there is ample cushion and comfortable fit for long sessions.
⁃ Manual Inter-Pupilliary Distance (IPD) adjustments are possible. This caters to a greater audiences and provide more comfort when wearing.

⁃ Greater range of games. The headset is compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive games. Additionally, its controllers contains the buttons and trackpads needs to navigate these games
⁃ Flexible tracking mechanisms. Tracking works on low-end VR laptops too.

VR and MR Device Analysis

VR Devices

I have compiled a table featuring 4 popular VR devices, as well as their respective specifications, for ease of comparison. These key specifications, including Degree of Freedom (DOF) and Field Of View (FOV), were chosen as basis of comparison due to their high relevance and importance in providing immersion in the VR experience.

SpecsPlaystation VRValve IndexNintendo Labo VROculus Quest 2
Degree of Freedom6DOF6DOF3DOF6DOF
Field of View100°130°110°90°
Resolution (pixels)1920 x 10802880 x 16001280 x 7203664 x 1920
Refresh Rate120hz144hz60hz90hz
Cost (USD)29999979.90299

Favourite VR Device: Oculus Quest 2

I ultimately favoured the Oculus Quest 2 over the other choices due to several reasons:

Firstly, it is a standalone VR headset and has a built-in display and audio processor, and using it is relatively hassle-free. This is opposed to the tethered playstation VR and Valve Index, which requires it to be connected to a PC to work.

Of course, I understand that tethered headsets are able to leverage on the powerful PCs to provide higher quality immersion. For example, the Valve Index is considered a higher-end headset of choice, and is able to take advantage of the PC’s computing power to push high refresh rates up to 144hz. It is also able to perform individual finger tracking with its controllers as well:

Finger Tracking on Valve Index

Despite the fact that tethered VR headset can supposedly provide more immersion, I identify as a casual VR user and do not see the need to invest in a high-end VR set at the moment. I believe that the Oculus Quest 2 is good enough for my needs in exploring the field of VR, and appreciate the fact that I can use the headset without much prior set up.

Secondly, I value the 6DOF that the Oculus Quest 2 provides. I’m not just young and dumb, I’m also broke. Hence, as I invest my money into Oculus Quest 2, I also expect a good level of immersion, which I believe can lead to a good level of presence. While VR headsets like the Nintendo Labo VR only provides 3DOF (tracking the rotation of your head), the Oculus Quest 2 also tracks your movement with inside-out tracking, a method that uses sensors on the device to scan the surroundings and determine your position. This is opposed to the Valve Index, which requires setting up external base station stands to track your surroundings.

Thirdly, the Oculus Quest 2 provides almost 4K resolution, beating the others in this area. Having a higher resolution can truly enhance the immersion, and make me temporarily forget about my sad, sad life. Hence, increasing the presence of the VR experience.

Lastly, I believe that at $299, the Oculus Quest 2 is worth it. While the cheapest on the list is the Nintendo Labo VR, it’s specs are (unsurprisingly) poorer than the rest, and undoubtedly would provide the least amount of immersion. It is more aimed at super-casual gamers or kids that want to have a taste of VR. The Oculus Quest 2 on the other hand, is reasonably priced given the amount of power it packs. Although the playstation VR is priced similarly to the Oculus Quest 2, I will still go with the Oculus Quest 2 because it is a standalone headset.

MR Devices

Below are 2 MR Devices that I think are great:

SpecsMicrosoft Hololens 2Magic Leap One
Degree of Freedom6DOF6DOF
Field of View52°50°
Resolution (pixels per eye)2048 x 10801280 x 960
Refresh Rate120Hz120Hz
Cost (USD)$3500$2295

Favourite MR device: Microsoft Hololens 2

I believe that both devices listed have their merits. However, I decided to go with Microsoft Hololens for these reasons:

Firstly, as a casual user of MR technologies, one of my main focuses is the ability to run interesting and fun programmes on the device. The Microsoft Hololens 2 is developed by Microsoft and the Magic Leap One is relatively new, developed by Magic Leap. The Microsoft Hololens 2 is able to run programmes that were developed for the original Hololens, while there is stark lack of content for the Magic Leap One. This is important to me because I like to keep things fresh and new and having few programs to choose from will cause the novelty to wear off.

Next, while the Magic Leap One has hand-tracking, it also provides a controller for the user to use, which is great in itself. But I’ve also read that the Microsoft Hololens 2 doesn’t even need controllers, and relies solely on hand-tracking via cameras on the device, and has significantly better hand tracking, even being able to “identify [the user’s] ten fingers with ease”. This provides the user with more immersion as it can better simulate real life, most likely leading to higher presence.

Also, just by looking at the specifications, we can see that the Hololens 2 beats the Magic Leap One on two important factors: Field of View and Resolution. This is what makes the Hololens 2 a better quality MR device, increasing the immersion.

While the Microsoft Hololens 2 would naturally cost more ($3500) compared to the Magic Leap One ($2295), I feel safer investing in a product developed by a well-known brand in Microsoft. Furthermore, the Hololens 2 is already their second edition of the Hololens series, which shows how Microsoft already has much more experience in building, giving them an added advantage in enhancing their MR device as compared to Magic Leap.

Homework 1 – Which VR/MR Headsets Do I Like?

Disclaimer: I haven’t had the opportunity to try any headsets at all 🙁 So take all I say with a huge sprinkle of salt.

Practicality/Affordability – I think it is important

I like practical stuff. I would like VR tech that is able to be adopted in some form by the masses. So TLDR: cheap.

VR headsets have come a long way. I remember being amazed at the Kickstarter of the Oculus Rift quite some years ago. It was kewl tech, and they promised it would go mainstream soon. Heck, even John Carmack (The Doom guy, but not the Doomguy) was in on it.

But since that time I have never even gotten the chance to touch a Headset before lol. High cost of entry (expensive) and not useful enough for what it does, given the high cost. Also perhaps I’m just poor.

There is also an issue where buying a VR headset is more of buying a service /experience as opposed to buying a tech. Perhaps VR headsets should be rented instead of sold. Otherwise it is a financial risk to the curious individual who may wish to try it out but is not sure about long term viability.

Grading Criteria for the headsets:

  1. Practicality: Is the gear practical to use? Is it clunky? Does it solve a problem? Comfort?
  2. price point: Consumer products should have low price point to be sufficiently affordable. Enterprise products should have appropriate price point for their target market.
  3. Tech: Is the tech significantly better than the last generation/competitor? Is it innovative? We aren’t just talking graphical fidelity or resolution here; we are interested in things like latency and framerate and subjective matters like nausea too.
  4. Compatibility: Can play the gamessssssss

Favorite VR Headsets

Winner: Valve Index

Pros: Apparently the best VR headset money can buy right now. With tech like this it might be wise to get the best, due to better support and everything… You pay for what you get, probably. One might use the Iphone vs budget Android in 2012 analogy here. If you can afford a PC for VR you should probably get a decent headset. Also, came out with Halflife Alyx.

Cons: Why is it so expensive 🙁

Budget runnerup: HP Reverb G2.

If you can’t quite afford the top tier HMD you should get this. It does not have significant problems except for “disappointing” tracking performance. But I’m sure you would learn to live with it, given its not exactly deal-breaking.

Favorite MR Headsets

Winner: Hololens

Pros: Microsoft invested in this tech a lot, and you can see many demos of this tech, from game demo to Medical tech. If you are buying this, you are probably an enterprise customer or a partner of Microsoft, in which case, a ecosystem and support from Microsoft would be very beneficial to your development and research work.

Cons: Wow many expensive, much dollars. If it is anything like some Microsoft products you know it possibly could be dead after a few years x.x


Can we have an opensource standard for HMD plz. New tech keeps getting centralized/consolidated and its very sad.


Latest Device Analysis For VR/AR/MR

As technology develops and advances , the demand and potential in VR/AR/MR increases tremendously. Their sole purpose are no longer just an entertainment tool(e.g games) as they are increasingly being introduced into professional fields. For example, VR has been used for virtual room tour in real estate industry as a solution to overcome the COVID-19 epidemic which caused real-world home tour almost impossible.

According to Chinese), a legal news website run by the State Council, mentioned that between 1 Jan 2020 and 4 March 2020, “about 110” Chinese property companies (mostly small to medium sized) have gone bankrupt in 2020

However, “Beike”, an online Chinese real estate brokerage service, that has found success, as well as survived in COVID-19 period with the help and innovation from VR.

An example of an 3D overall view of a display room in Beike App
An example showing 360 degree VR view of a display room in Beike App

As a result, VR/AR/MR are truly the technology of the future, today.

In this post, i will first state some of the latest VR/AR/MR technologies available in the market and elaborate further on some of the interesting one, as well as my personal picks. Without further ado, let’s begin!

Some of the Latest Technologies


So you may wonder what is CAVE stand for ? Well, it is an acronym that stands for Cave Automatic Virtual Environment.

It is a virtual reality space where the walls, the floor and ceiling, act as giant projection surfaces to create a highly immersive virtual environment. It is composed of several projectors mounted on racks, and directed by Computers with professional graphic cards.

In order to experience CAVE, users will need to equip themselves with stereoscopic glasses and interact with projected visual content. The VR glasses are attached with tracking devices to provide signals to the computer on how to adjust the projected images as users walk around the environment. In details, the perspective is calculated in real time to match the user’s point of view.

One of the advantages that CAVEs have as compared to normal Head Mounted Device (HMD) is that they offer users complete freedom of movement and a greater field of vision.

Another advantage is that it enhances collaboration capabilities with its 1-to-1 display scale. As a result, it is the ideal place to share experience/information to stakeholders, which also leads to enhancement in the decision-making process.

Photo by ST Engineering Antycip

However, VR CAVEs are built and design targeting in the professional fields such as crisis management training and the “CAVE” is just too big and not portable for normal uses.

Oculus Quest 2 (My Preferred VR Choice)

As a result, Oculus Quest 2 that developed by Facebook is my number one choice for VR device.

The price of Quest 2 is reasonable starts at USD$ 299. It is a standalone headset that installed with the highest-end processor, the Snapdragon XR2. It is also a made-for-VR chip which includes some additional features that make it even compatible for VR usages.

Quest 2 has a per-eye resolution of 1832 x 1920(3.5 megapixels) with ‘screen door effect’ removed. This makes the graphic display in Quest 2 feels a bit more real than its previous version (Oculus Quest) and other VR devices.

Explanation: The screen door effect is a mesh-like appearance that occurs where visible gaps between pixels are seen on an electronic screen, usually when viewed at close proximity. 

Quest 2 has hidden integrated speakers that allow audio to emanate from the headband. As a result, user will no longer need to wear an additional headphones to get that maximum immersion from Quest 2.

Last but not least, as mentioned before, Quest 2 is a standalone device, unlike HTC Vive Cosmos(require PC connection to work) and PS VR (require PlayStation 4 to work). Therefore, Quest 2 offers the greatest physical freedom by completely removing the cables and not requiring any external device to handle processing.

Overall, Oculus Quest 2 consist of most of the required features and standard that a user can expected at its reasonable price. Therefore, if i would like to get a VR headset for myself, i probably will go for Oculus Quest 2.

Mojo Vision’s Augmented Reality Contact Lens

In 2020, Mojo Vision has announced their plan to build the world’s first true smart contact lens, called the Mojo Lens. This Mojo Lens consists of the smallest densest dynamic display yet, the world’s most power-efficient image sensor optimised for computer vision, a custom wireless radio , and motion sensors for eye movement tracking and image stabilisation.

The main highlight of the Mojo Lens is the 14K Pixel Per Inch (PPI) display that produce a world-record pixel pitch of over 14000 ppi and a pixel density of over 200Mppi, making it the smallest, densest display ever designed for AR technologies.

In my opinion, this is definitely a huge leap from the current VR/AR/MR technologies. However, such technologies might take some time to mature and get accepted by the public. Since nobody are willing to put something digital into their bare eyes. Nonetheless, i felt that Mojo Vision could plays an important role in advancing and maturing the field of VR/AR/MR technologies.

Nreal Light (My Preferred Choice For MR)

Nreal Light is an affordable MR glass that is light (as the product name shows), fashionable. It is also very comfortable to wear as it comes with 3 types of nose pads, so that user can attach accordingly to the device that fits their nose the most. In my opinion, comfort is an important factor in the design of the MR devices as i believe that one day, everyone will wear it from day to day.

Front view of the device

Moreover, it comes with integrated audio, this also means that it does not requires you to plug in your own set of headphones through an external jack.

It also consist of a feature where user can actually connect glasses to the USB C port of their laptop or computer so that user’s computer will detect the glass as the secondary display and so mirroring the content of user’s PC on the glass is made possible with Nreal.

Of course nothing is prefect and Nreal defintely needs to improve further in future. However, it’s reasonable price and the features. as well as the quality are the main reasons that i picked it as my preferred MR choice. Although Hololens 2 by Microsoft are probably the best MR devices available right now, but it is way too expensive for its price and it is specifically designed for industry use.

Therefore, depending on the purpose of usages, i felt that Nreal Light consist of all necessary functionalities available as well as a fashionable and ergonomic product design, which is why i picked it for my MR choice.


Creating Full Sensory Experience

Extended Reality (XR) is commonly used to refer to all types of VR/AR/MR in the aggregate. While i was researching for such articles from google, i came across an interesting article that mentioned about XR with scent unit.

One example is Vaqso, a Japanese company that created a scent unit that can be used/attached with any head-mounted device(HMD). The device contains five cartridges of pre-mixed scents. Surprisingly, one of their scent collection includes one scent called Zombie. Perhaps i guess it is to fulfil the demand in zombie related VR game out there 😛

The Vaqso scent unit attaches to a VR headset and offers five scent compartments to coordinate with a game experience.
Image © Vaqso

Other than scent, Brooklyn-based start-up company Feelreal has developed a mask unit that not only provides scent, but also vibration, heat, wind, and mist to enhance the user experience.

The Feelreal mask unit shown with four types of VR devices; it clips onto the headset, and connects via Bluetooth.
(Image © Feelreal, Source)

All in all, we can see that virtual reality technology has evolved tremendously throughout the years. We can expect more as future is full of possibility.

I am excited and can’t wait to dive into the future with CS4240 Interaction Design for Virtual and Augmented Reality.