The Link Trainer was a commercial flight simulator patented 1931 that was entirely electromechanical. The U.S. military bought six of these devices for $3,500 which would be around $50,000 today.
Sawyer’s View-Master debuted at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair and was originally intended as an educational device for adults, but became a children’s toy. It is estimated that overall sales have topped 100 million viewers and 1.5 billion reels
The binocular-style image reel viewer offers stereoscopic, 3D pictures that are mounted in a case of Bakelite, the first entirely man-made plastic.
The Sensorama was designed mid-50s and patented 1962. The arcade-style theater cabinet provided fully immersed film experience by stimulating all five senses.
The device included stereo speakers, a stereoscopic 3D display, fans, smell generators and a vibrating chair.
The Telesphere Mask was patented in 1960 and was the first head-mounted display. The device featured stereoscopic 3D and wide vision with stereo sound, but lacked motion tracking.
The Aspen Movie Map provides an interactive virtual tour of Aspen, Colorado. The device acted as a precursor to Google Street View.
The tour was created with roof-mounted cameras on cars and played back on a touch-screen display, with navigation buttons that allowed users to move around.
The VPL Eyephone was an immersive headset and glove released in 1989.The device sold at at a price point of $9,400 and used hand to head tracking to immerse users in a computer simulation.
The Nintendo Virtual Boy was a portable 3D video game console and the first home virtual reality device for gaming. The device sold around 770,000 units and utilized a dual screen design to create the illusion of 3D using 2D images.
Virtuality Gaming Machines were enclosed gaming stations that consisted of a headset and hand controllers plus a gaming pod. The first sale was for two machines to British Telecom for $78,000 each
The Microsoft Kinect is a motion-sensing gaming system that was launched in 2010. The device creates a digitized version of the user that interacts with the virtual world on screen.
The iPhone Virtual Reality Viewer is a pair of 3D iPhone goggles that provides users with an immersive, three-dimensional viewing experience. The goggles have 360-degree movement and use existing mobile devices.
The Oculus Rift is a digital entertainment headset. Its kickstarter campaign raised $1 million in three days and the device was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion
The Tactical Haptics VR Motion Controller is a Responsive gaming joystick. The grip of the controller simulates pushing, pulling and twisting forces. The Kickstarter for the device launched in 2013, but did not reach its $175,000 goal.
Google Cardboard is a foldable cardboard viewer with a price point of $15. 5 million viewers were sold in the first 19 months it was available. The device fits an Android phone.
The Samsung Gear VR is worn around the user’s head with eyes enclosed. The device requires a Samsung phone to operate and uses an accelerometer and gyroscope for an immersive experience. It is sold at a price point of $99.
The Microsoft Hololens is a holographic headset with a price point of $3,000 for the developer edition. It is a standalone device with no phone involved.
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