A small insight into a few VR/ AR/ MR headsets, glasses and other things

We still don’t know 100% what effects, specific to VR for example, can have on our health or on our brain in the long term. An MRI of the brain while using it cannot be done with VR because the head has to be kept still and that turns out to be a bit more difficult in this case. Using VR has many good aspects such as overcoming trauma, can bring out a realistic level of empathy, reduce pain or even cure phobias. However, stimulus overload can also, in the worst case scenario, lead to creating a new trauma. The warnings, requests for breaks, age limits, or the need to sign documents before using VR cannot be ignored or accepted as careless under any circumstances. This is precisely why it is important to consider in advance what technology to use for what purpose and whether a positive goal can be achieved with it.

In the process of my research, I was mainly interested in headsets, glasses or other things that are relatively easy to put on, as safe as possible to use and perhaps don’t completely exclude your own real environment or at least are easy to take off. Which technology, headset or glasses will end up being the best fit for my project will become clear over time. So here is a small selection of technologies that are interesting for me at the moment:

The Mixed-Reality-Headset Microsoft Hololens 2

  • This headset is put on and tightened with the help of a knob and a headband
  • Eye tracking
  • The headset does not need to be taken off because the visor can be folded upwards
  • Display does not have to be precisely aligned with the eyes to work due to the technology used (laser, mirror, waveguides) in the glasses
  • Not yet immersive enough for the normal consumer
MR Headset Microsoft Hololens 2

The first standalone mixed reality glasses Lynx-R1

  • Does not require external tracking sensors or other devices
  • Optical hand tracking
  • Digital elements can be added to a real-time filmed environment by two cameras on the display
  • VR and AR at the same time
  • Multiple cameras are used to film the environment
MR glasses Lynx-R1

Small VR glasses from Panasonic

  • Ordinary, commercially available VR glasses are much bigger and bulkier
  • Stereo speakers are integrated
  • Is put on like a normal pair of glasses 
  • Spatial tracking
  • Positional tracking through inside-out tracking cameras by tracking the position of the head mounted display and that of the controller
 Panasonics “VR Glasses”

AR glasses Rokid Vision 2

  • Must be connected with a cable to smartphone, laptop or tablet
  • Is put on like a normal pair of glasses 
  • Has Speakers for stereo sound
  • The glasses will be operated by voice control
  • There are specially developed scenarios, such as a Fantasy World. This is an immersive space in which the user can interact with the world through head-, gesture- or voice control
  • The user can move freely in the virtual space through room tracking
  • No word yet on when it will hit the market
AR glasses Rokid Vision 2

VR Arcade Game from The VOID or Sandbox VR

The VOID and Sandbox VR are actually both on the verge of going out of business. Due to the Corona crisis, all arcades had to close, and at the VOID, Disney withdrew several important licenses, such as Star Wars, because the company could not pay for them due to expensive equipment and associated debts. Still, the concept behind it is very exciting. Here are a few key points from The VOID:

  • Through a headset, motion capture cameras, 3D precision body tracking, haptic suits, props like flashlights or blasters meant to represent a weapon, one can explore the game in the physical environment and interact with a virtual world simultaneously 
  • Fully immersive through VR and at the same time physical in the game by making virtual objects resemble physical objects
  • So you are immersed in the game as the main character, and depending on the virtual world and story, you have to complete certain tasks as a team
The VOID Trailer


  1. Microsoft’s Hololens 2: A $3,500 Mixed Reality Headset for the factory, not the living room, Dieter Bohn (24.2.2019), https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/24/18235460/microsoft-hololens-2-price-specs-mixed-reality-ar-vr-business-work-features-mwc-2019
  2. Lynx-R1: Erste autarke Mixed-Reality-Brille vorgestellt, Tomislav Bezmalinovic (4.2.2020), https://mixed.de/lynx-r1-erste-autarke-mixed-reality-brille-vorgestellt/
  3. CES 2021: Panasonic zeigt extra-schlanke VR-Brille, Tomislav Bezmalinovic (12.1.2021), https://mixed.de/ces-2021-panasonic-zeigt-extra-schlanke-vr-brille/
  4. Rokid Vision 2: AR-Brille kommt in neuem Design, Tomislav Bezmalinovic (15.1.2021), https://mixed.de/rokid-vision-2-ar-brille-kommt-in-neuem-design/
  5. The VOID (2021), http://www.thevoid.com/what-is-the-void/
  6. The Void: Highend-VR-Arcade steht vor dem Aus, Tomislav Bezmalinovic (17.11.2020), https://mixed.de/the-void-highend-vr-arcade-steht-vor-dem-aus/

The History of VR, AR and MR

1838: Sir Charles Wheatstone found that humans can only perceive 3D because the brain combines two photographs of the same object, but from different points. He later invented the stereoscope.

1935: Nearly 100 years later, sci-fi author Stanley Weinbaum presents a fictional model for VR. The story, “Pygmalion’s Spectacles,” is about VR glasses in which the character is fully immersed in an interactive environment when wearing them.

1956: Morton Heilig, a filmmaker and inventor, invented the Sensorama. It gave the feeling of an immersive 3D world. Six short films were developed for this booth and inside there were full-color displays, audio, vibration, smell and atmospheric effects like wind. 

1960: Four years later, Marton Heilig invents the first head-mounted display (HMD) called Telesphere Mask.

1961: Comeau and Bryan, both engineers, invent the first motion-tracking HMD. However, it was only used for the military to detect threats from a distance. After that, this technology was mainly used for the military because they had the money to fund it. It was then mainly used to build better flight simulators.

1968: Ivan Sutherland, a computer scientist, and Bob Sproull created the first virtual reality HMD. It was called “The Sword of Damocles.” It could only show simple virtual wireframe shapes, but they changed the perspective to the movement. That was the birth of AR. Because the device was too heavy, they had to strap it from the ceiling.

1969: Myron Krueger, a computer artist, created Glowflow, a succession to AR. The computer-generated environments could respond to the people in them.

1972: The General Electric Corporation built a computerized flight simulator. Using three screens, this simulator had a 180-degree field of view.

1975: Myron Krueger invented the first interactive VR platform VIDEOPLACE without the use of HMD or gloves. Through the use of projectors, video cameras, video displays, position sensing and computer graphics, the user could see the imitated movements of his silhouette.

1978: Aspen movie maps were developed. These maps were used to familiarize soldiers with remote locations. They made stop-motion images from a first-person perspective in a car. It was the first Street View version.

1979: McDonnell-Douglas Corporation integrated VR into an HMD. It was called the VITAL Helmet and was for military use only. To adjust the computer-generated images, the technology followed the pilot’s eye movements.

1980: StereoGraphics company invented stereo vision glasses.

1982: Sandin and Defanti invented the Sayre gloves. They monitored the movements of the hands. It is the beginning of gesture recognition.

1985: Thomas Zimmermann and Jaron Lanier founded VPL Research Inc. They were the first to sell VR glasses and gloves.

1986: Thomas Furness developed the Super Cockpit. It was the first flight simulator with computer-generated 3D maps. The pilot could control the plane through gestures, speech and eye movements. A year later, Jaron Lanier made the term “virtual reality” known to the public.

1989: Scott Foster founded Crystal River Engineering Inc. Through this company, real-time binaural 3D audio processing was developed.

1990: Jonathan Waldern introduces Virtuality. It was the first mass-produced VR entertainment system and was an arcade machine for gamers. That same year, Tom Caudell coins the term augmented reality.

1991: Antonio Medina, a NASA scientist, develops a VR system to control the Mars robot rovers. The company SEGA tries to release the first VR headset for the general public to buy, but it was never released because it was claimed that people could hurt themselves due to the VR effect being too realistic. However, the real reason could be that the processing power was too limited.

1992: Louis Rosenburg of Armstrong Laboratories, USAF, invents the first immersive mixed reality system, called Virtual Fixture.

1994: Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino describe mixed reality as “anywhere between the extrema of the virtuality continuum.”

1995: Affordable VR headsets for home use were released

1997: Georgia Tech and Emory University created VR war zone scenarios for veterans to help them recover from PTSD.

2001: Z-A Production released the first PC-based cubic room. It was called the SAS Cube.

2007: Google introduced the Street View virtual map.

2010: Google adds stereoscopic 3D mode to Street View.

2012: Palmer Luckey develops the prototype of the Oculus Rift. He was 18 years old at the time.

2014: Facebook buys Oculus VR, Sony announces it is working on a VR headset, Google releases Cardboard, and Samsung announces the Samsung Gear VR.

2015: Since then, the technology has evolved significantly and is now used in many areas, from teaching to fighting diseases to gaming.


  1. History of VR – Timeline of Events and Tech Development, Dom Barnard (06.08.2019), https://virtualspeech.com/blog/history-of-vr
  2. The History of Artificial and Virtual Reality AR/VR, o. A. (05.06.2020), https://avtsim.com/the-history-of-ar-vr/

Difference between VR, AR and MR

To get an idea and a basic knowledge of what the differences are between VR, AR and MR, I started with this in my research:

Virtual Reality:

  • Is the most commonly used
  • It allows the user to fully immerse himself in another world
  • With the use of head mounted displays, screens, sensors, gloves, etc. the images can be seen and interacted with
  • Simulations of real-life situations or entire environments can be immersed and interacted with
  • To use VR, the needed program or software, vision devices like TV, laptop, projector, smartphone, tablet, gaming console, OPI etc. and interactive devices like keyboard and mouse, haptic devices, joystick etc. must be provided

Augmented Reality:

  • It combines direct or indirect physical environments to the real world with other digital elements (like Pokémon Go for example)
  • While the user is in his real environment, virtual elements are generated in real time which the user can interact with
  • Through a device, these virtual elements can be seen and interacted with
  • To use AR, a program is needed that can mix the real and virtual world, capture devices such as webcam, video camera, smartphone, etc. for object recognition or geolocation, devices that can display the images such as smartphone, laptop or computer display, projector, etc. and activators that recognize at what time which virtual elements should be displayed
VR, AR and MR.

Mixed Reality:

  • Digital elements and the real environment are combined – it is a mixture of virtual reality and real-life
  • Real objects in the physical world are masked by virtual objects so that it feels as if the virtual objects really exist
  • With VR, you are immersed in a virtual world that does not exist. With MR, you feel like the virtual world is immersed in the real world and they merge together
  • For MR, you not only need sensors, displays and headsets but, most importantly, an environment where the location exists in both the real and virtual world
Mixed Reality is the result of blending the physical world with the digital world.


  1. Virtuality Continuum ́s State of the Art, Héctor Olmedo (2013), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257388578_Virtuality_Continuum%27s_State_of_the_Art
  2. What is Mixed Reality?, Brandon Bray (26.08.2020), https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/discover/mixed-reality