Newbie needs help with VR headset choice and VR experience game.

Agooner

Novice Member
I know there have been a number of threads on which headset to buy, but unfortunately none seem to match my requirements. Let me explain what I want.

I travel to East Africa to volunteer in an orphanage and now in schools. I want a VR solution that I can take with me.

It needs to be cordless preferably although I would have a MS Surface Book laptop (1st Gen) with me if necessary. There is no power or internet in the school classrooms, and only during the day in the orphanage.

I want to give the children an experience, rather than to play games, eg something like walking over a rope bridge, or walking in the sea (many of the children have never seen the sea) or travelling through space, etc. Any experience needs to be easily repeated, ie reset; with many children to offer the same experiece to. How much space do I need for these expriences. At the school I would probably have a small space at the front of the classroom unless I take it outside.

What else, accessories, do I need besides the headset and the game to offer a great experience to the children? Most of the children have never seen Lego bricks, jig-saws, anything remote controlled, etc so a VR experience would be mind blowing for them.

I have seen reference to the Oculus 2 but I don't have Facebook (which I believe is needed) and never will.

What do I have to consider from a safety aspect for the children bearing in mind that each child may only get about 5 mins to wear the headset in a class of 30-40. Childrens ages can range from 8-15.

Thank you for any replies, much appreciated.
 

TheyCallMeTJ

Distinguished Member
I know there have been a number of threads on which headset to buy, but unfortunately none seem to match my requirements. Let me explain what I want.

I travel to East Africa to volunteer in an orphanage and now in schools. I want a VR solution that I can take with me.

It needs to be cordless preferably although I would have a MS Surface Book laptop (1st Gen) with me if necessary. There is no power or internet in the school classrooms, and only during the day in the orphanage.

I want to give the children an experience, rather than to play games, eg something like walking over a rope bridge, or walking in the sea (many of the children have never seen the sea) or travelling through space, etc. Any experience needs to be easily repeated, ie reset; with many children to offer the same experiece to. How much space do I need for these expriences. At the school I would probably have a small space at the front of the classroom unless I take it outside.

What else, accessories, do I need besides the headset and the game to offer a great experience to the children? Most of the children have never seen Lego bricks, jig-saws, anything remote controlled, etc so a VR experience would be mind blowing for them.

I have seen reference to the Oculus 2 but I don't have Facebook (which I believe is needed) and never will.

What do I have to consider from a safety aspect for the children bearing in mind that each child may only get about 5 mins to wear the headset in a class of 30-40. Childrens ages can range from 8-15.

Thank you for any replies, much appreciated.

To be honest, for standalone all in one VR headsets, there is no other worthwhile alternative to Oculus Quest 2 (now Meta Quest 2). I too didn't have a FB account but I created one just to use Quest2 and I use it in a limited manner with none of my personal life details on it, just my name. But it turned out useful to get updates, features and discounts on my favourite stores.

For a solution tethered to your laptop, there are some solutions that can work for your scenario. But I suggest you equip yourself with a USB C powerbank for your MS Surface laptop assuming it has a USB C charging port (and assuming you can travel with one on your flight). A VR experience shared amongst 40 children will likely run your main laptop battery down but at least you will have a backup battery to run off for your own needs afterwards.

So if we eliminate all Oculus brand headsets from your choices (because they will all require Facebook account for full functionality in 2023) and headsets that require external cameras for tracking, what remains are: Valve Index, HTC Vive Cosmos and Mixed Windows Reality headsets which have inside out tracking.

The HTC and Valve headsets are high end headsets costing several hundred pounds that will be severely bottlenecked running on your laptop. So I think the Mixed Windows Reality headsets are your best solution. These range between £120-160 second hand (they are no longer manufactured) for HP, Acer and Asus brands and you can buy these with 2 years warranty at CEX stores. These are really quite good for your purpose if you are determined to stay away from creating an FB account. They can run steam VR games and experiences at least the less demanding, certainly impressive enough to show VR virgins.

As for VR content and space required, most experiences can be enjoyed in a stationary position as navigation in VR environments are done using the controller nav sticks. DO NOT ever take a VR headset outdoors, especially in sunny conditions as the will display/lens will be damaged. In fact, even indoors, you must remember never to have the headset lens facing any windows after use.

That's as much as I can advise, maybe there are other solutions others might be able to come up with here.
 

Agooner

Novice Member
Thank you very much for the detailed reply, I do really appreciate it.

It points me towards the models of headset to look for.

The information about not using outside and not facing a window worries me slightly. It can be strong sunlight in E Africa, and generally the schools have window opennings, but without glass, so it could be difficult to isolate the headset from sunlight.

I will have a look in a CEX store.
 

thesnowdog

Well-known Member
If your laptop is powerful enough to run PC VR games then I highly recommend Google Earth VR and TheBlu. They will both blow their minds!
 

KingD

Well-known Member
sign up for a FB account and link it to a Quest 2, its the best headset for what you are looking for, you can put minimal information in the account, and keep it all locked up pretty tight. There is no difference to your data being stored in a bunch of other places IMO.
 

thesnowdog

Well-known Member
sign up for a FB account and link it to a Quest 2, its the best headset for what you are looking for, you can put minimal information in the account, and keep it all locked up pretty tight. There is no difference to your data being stored in a bunch of other places IMO.

And this! ^^^

You'll want to get a power bank or two as well. It'll also give you wireless PC VR if you have a decent enough router and internet connection.
 

Agooner

Novice Member
Thanks to everyone for your help. "thesnowdog" your suggesttion for theBlu would seem to meet my rquirements as far as providing a great experience for the children.

I have a few months before my next trip (hopefully) to try and get a headset.

Thanks
 

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