2014 - Samsung Gear VR
By 2014, Samsung had formed a partnership with Oculus to create low-persistence OLED panels for the Rift. With Oculus' expertise in HMD design, the two companies created the Gear VR, a VR HMD that interfaces with Samsung's high-end smartphones.
The Gear VR lands somewhere between Google's Cardboard and the Oculus Rift in terms of quality. Like the Rift, it uses a wide array of sensors to monitor head movements, and it possesses an OLED display with a high refresh rate. Like Google's Cardboard, however, it also uses a smartphone placed inside of the headset for the display and to handle a great deal of the processing requirements.
The first version of the Gear VR Innovator Edition was released as a developer kit and it required a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to operate. In 2015, Oculus and Samsung released the Innovator Edition for the Galaxy S6 (which was short-lived). In November 2015, Oculus and Samsung released the Gear VR consumer edition, which interfaces with the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Note 5, S7 and S7 Edge.
2015 - FOVE
FOVE's VR headset attempted to get a jump on its competition by introducing eye tracking technology inside of an HMD. Fove claims its HMD can track eye movements up to 1/5th of a degree. The system has a resolution of 2560x1440 and viewing angles of 100+ degrees. The headset is targeted at a wide range of uses, including games, healthcare and education.
2015 - Razer OSVR
At CES 2015, Razer announced its OSVR headset, an open source VR HMD. The headset, like the Oculus Rift and Samsung's Gear VR, uses an OLED display. In the OSVR, the display measures 5.5 inches and has a max display resolution of 2160x1200, or 1080x1200 for each eye. The headset also has gyroscopes and accelerometers, plus an infrared camera. Leap Motion has contributed to the project by working on motion controls.
2015 - Sensics dSight
The dSight HMD uses dual 1080p displays to create its stereoscopic 3D effects. It's somewhat limited in terms of its viewing angles, as users can see up to 120 degrees horizontally but only 63 degrees vertically. Like most 2015 HMDs, it takes advantage of the OSVR platform to gain a wider array of software support.
2015 - Vrvana Totem
The Vrvana Totem is one of the first HMDs to use the OSVR open source platform. It features viewing angles up to 120 degrees and has a 1440p OLED display. One of the key design goals for the Totem is to create a blended VR and AR device. The idea is to be able to create a virtual world, and then use augmented reality to shape it to the user's environment and pull real world objects into the game.
2015 - VRUnion Claire
aims to push VR hardware above and beyond competing VR headsets. Its latest model, the Claire 22M, features a high resolution of 3840x1080. The headset has exceptionally wide viewing angles of 170 degrees, and it is compatible with several other VR technologies, including Leap Motion and the OSVR platform.
2015 - Project StarVR
Game developer Starbreeze, in partnership with several other developers, is working to create its own platform using the Steam OpenVR framework. The Star VR headset uses dual 5.5-inch 2560x1440 LCD displays. This helps to make the world look more detailed, and it pushes the viewing angles up to 210 degrees horizontally and 130 degrees vertically. It also uses advanced interface options, including head movement sensors and optical tracking devices.
2015 - HTC Vive DK1
In February 2015 at Mobile World Congress, HTC came out of nowhere and introduced the Vive VR HMD. The company partnered with Valve Corporation, which had been working internally on roomscale VR tracking for several years already, to create the Vive.
The system includes a fully tracked headset and two wand controllers. The Vive contains two displays running at 1080x1200 with a 90 Hz refresh rate. It is also equipped with a multitude of sensors to monitor head movements. HTC also integrated a unique feature into the headset: a camera attached to the outside of the HMD. The camera can scan real-world items into the virtual world.
It also boasts the ability to let you walk around in virtual space by tracking up to a 15x15 foot area of the real world thanks to the Lighthouse tracking system. The headset and controllers use an array of sensors that detect invisible lasers emitted across the tracked space from two Lighthouse base stations that are placed on opposing corners of the room.
The Vive is scheduled for release in April 2016.
2015 - Oculus CV1
Oculus revealed the consumer release version of the Rift HMD in June 2015 at an event the week before E3. The consumer version features dual low-persistence OLED displays, each with a resolution of 1080x1200, and a 90Hz refresh rate. The new Rift model has a brand new tracking system the company calls "Constellation," which tracks LEDs hidden behind a fabric cover on the headset.
Oculus also revealed that every Rift would include an Xbox One controller, which will be the primary control method for launch titles. At the June 2015 event, Oculus promised to release the Rift in the Q1 2016, and on March 28 it will deliver on that promise, just barely, to the first wave of pre-orders.
2015 - Oculus Touch Controllers
Oculus debuted its Touch VR motion controllers when it announced the final consumer version of the rift. Earlier in the year, HTC and Valve had demonstrated with the HTC Vive’s SteamVR controllers that natural interactions in VR (that is, in contrast to abstracted interaction using a game controller) are far more compelling. It only made sense then that Oculus would follow suit.
The Touch controllers are tracked by the same camera-based Constellation system as the Rift headset, but a second camera allows for full 180-degree tracking. Like the SteamVR controllers (and Wiimote and Move controllers), the Oculus Touch controllers are handheld and use the tracking to position your hands in the VR space but still use buttons to interact with most in-VR objects.
However, their most unique feature is enabled by the ring that encircles your finger. The ring contains sensors that allow the controllers to track finger gestures, which enhances social interactions when in multi-person VR -- something Facebook is surely interested in enabling.
The Touch controllers do not come included with the Rift itself, and Oculus has not committed to a release date, saying only that they’ll be out in the second half of 2016. There is also the unanswered question of whether the Rift plus Touch will be capable of full room-scale VR, like the HTC Vive.