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Hardware for Virtual Reality: Going Beyond Goggles and Headsets

Read Time: 3 minutes

Developing a virtual reality (VR) app can prove to be a complex and time-consuming project, especially as you broach the task of hardware integration. In fact, you can now choose from a wide array of hardware for virtual reality and it spans far beyond VR goggles and headsets. But if your users are going to be able to leverage these new VR gadgets and equipment, you’ll need to ensure your app is fully compatible. So let’s take a look at some of the coolest new virtual reality equipment on the market. Notably, many of these technologies can also be used to enjoy augmented reality apps.

Virtual Reality Cinema Pods

Virtual reality cinema pods are one-person units that envelop the user to deliver an immersive, full body experience. These VR cinema pods are suitable for virtual reality apps that allow the user to remain seated. They can include a range of different features, such as:

  • A seat that tilts, moves and vibrates.
  • A surround sound system that provides realistic audio.
  • A scent generator to deliver a more realistic sensory experience.
  • Fans to generate wind and replicate other conditions, such as the rush of air you might feel as someone walks past you.
  • A panoramic visual field that allows for immersion in a digital environment.

Virtual reality cinemas are great for games and other experiences where the user can remain seated. But for scenarios where the individual must be upright and able to perform arm and leg movements, a VR platform may be more suitable.

Virtual Reality Platforms

Virtual reality platforms have gained tremendous popularity in arcades, although there are many additional applications for this technology, including use in law enforcement and the military. These platforms are used in conjunction with a VR headset/goggles and sometimes, entire virtual reality suits.

The platform is typically about six to eight feet in diameter, surrounded by railings that can be used to mount fans, scent generators, position sensors and controllers. The floor may be configured to include a treadmill and/or a mechanism that tilts, vibrates and moves to represent variations in terrain or surface type. VR platforms are ideal for applications that require lots of arm and leg movement, whereas cinema pods are better suited to apps that allow the user to remain seated.

Virtual Reality Suits

Virtual reality suits are rapidly gaining popularity amongst gamers, as they’re relatively affordablewith a price point between $500 and $1,000 for many modelsand really enhance the virtual experience. But these VR suits are also becoming more popular with groups such as the military, law enforcement and athletes who use the suits as a training tool. There’s also potential for use in industries such as real estate, as you could theoretically “visit” and tour a piece of real estate without ever leaving home.

VR suits are typically comprised of a vest, arm pads, leg pads and in-hand wands or controllers of some form. They are often used in conjunction with VR goggles/headsets and a camera that observes the user’s movements, although some high-tech models may include gyroscopes and other mechanisms that allow the suit to monitor the user’s body position. It’s even possible to use a virtual reality suit in conjunction with a platform for an even more realistic experience.

These suits not only keep track of your movements and body position, but they also provide the user with sensory feedback in response to movements and actions. This sensory feedback can include vibration, pressure and even temperature changes.

Modern hardware for virtual reality apps can deliver an incredibly realistic experience, but it’s important to ensure that your mobile app is developed in a way that allows you to leverage this technology effectively. This means you’ll need to perform comprehensive beta testing to verify compatibility and a smooth user experience. Some developers may even opt to build slightly different versions of a particular app in order to accommodate certain forms of technology.

Once you’ve explored the options in terms of hardware for virtual reality mobile apps, you’ll need to find a developer who is well-equipped to build this type of application. At 7T, we specialize in such complex and cutting-edge technology. We also develop mobile apps using a range of other emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.

7T is based in Dallas, with additional office locations in Austin and Houston. Our client base spans far and wide, though, as we work with companies and individuals across the United States. If you’re ready to begin the process of developing a VR mobile app, contact 7T today.


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Lacey Williams-McGhee

Lacey Williams is a marketing professional and Harvard graduate student living in the great state of Texas. When she's not working at 7T's headquarters, she can be found on the next flight to the Bahamas, hanging out with her husband and fluffy golden retriever, or studying! Lacey earned a B.A. in journalism from Baylor University. Sic 'em!


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