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Telesphere Mask (1960)
In 1960, Heilig filed a patent for this first head mounted device, the telesphere mask, a “stereoscopic television device for individual use,” according to the patent. For having been an early design, it’s not too far off from even Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard.
The Sword of Damocles (1968)
Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull created this headset. According to Sutherland’s original Harvard paper, the headset was very heavy and hung from the ceiling. As far as the display, it was really more of augmented reality than virtual.
Eric Howlett invented the LEEP (The Large Expanse, Extra Perspective) System in the 80s. The headset changed the optics of still images to make them appear 3D. Howlett is commonly referred to as the inventor of virtual reality.
NASA-Ames helmets and headsets (1980s)
According to the Smithsonian, NASA dipped a toe into virtual reality with the idea of creating better flight simulators.
Sega VR (1993)
Sega VR never quite happened. Though they brought the headset to CES in 1993 and touted their immersive 3D gaming world, Sega never brought the product to market as planned.
Oculus Rift (2012)
In just a few years, Oculus Rift has released three generations of its headset. Here’s a first generation model.
SEOS HMD 120/40 (2000s)
This headset touted a 120 degree field of view and was somehow, only two and a half pounds.