Common Virtual Reality Acronyms and Vocabulary Explained

  • IEM
  • SDE
  • FoV
  • PCP

Three of these are virtual reality acronyms, and one was a drug reference (for shits and giggles).

Today I’m going to break down the most common acronyms and vocabulary used in the virtual reality community. This’ll be a recap for those of you already engrained in the VR community, but hey, someone’s gotta get the newcomers up to speed because we’re all too damn lazy to spring for the extra keystrokes.

The 7 Most Common Virtual Reality Terms/Acronyms

SDE is the acronym for “screen door effect”. It was an issue with a lot of the earlier virtual reality headsets, but has since been fixed for the most part. Imagine you’re sitting outside looking across a vast, open field, but in front of you there’s a screen door that you’re looking through. That’s the screen door effect, or SDE.

FoV is an abbreviation for “field of view”. It’s a spec that tells you how wide of a viewing angle your virtual reality display will have. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both have 110 degree fields of view, whereas the Playstation VR will have a 100 degree FoV.

ATW stands for “Asynchronous Timewarp”, which is the way Oculus handles dropped frames without significantly damaging the user’s virtual reality experience.

Basically, if your computer can’t maintain your current frame rate, Oculus fills in these dropped frames with intermediary frames. This way you’re not left with a choppy experience full of dropped frames whenever your system can’t keep up.

Room scale isn’t an acronym, but it’s a term that confuses a lot of newcomers to the virtual reality scene. Room scale VR is the capability of walking around and interacting with items in virtual reality while also moving around in real space.

When you move forward one step in your room, you move forward one step in the virtual environment. At launch, the HTC Vive is the only headset offering room scale, although it’s speculated that the Rift will follow suit shortly after releasing their Oculus Touch controllers.

Constellation and Lighthouse Chaperone System (Lighthouse for short) refer to Oculus and HTC’s tracking systems. Constellation tracks the movement of the Rift headset and, eventually, the Touch controllers while the Lighthouse Chaperone System (Lighthouse for short) tracks the movement of the Vive headset and wands.

IEM stands for In-Ear Monitors, and at this time only really applies to the HTC Vive. The Oculus Rift comes with built in headphones whereas the HTC Vive comes with earbuds. So in this particular case, IEMs are earbuds.

HMD stands for “head mounted display”. It’s what the Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR all are – virtual reality displays that mount to your head… as long as you’re using them correctly. If not… *shrugs shoulders*.

And for the sake of being thorough, PCP stands for phencyclidine. For the two people that didn’t realize that was the drug reference at the beginning of this video, I apologize for destroying your innocence. But what else are soulless gingers good for?

You’re Officially a VR Veteran

Congratulations – you can now partake in every virtual reality conversation happening within forums worldwide! Which you’ll probably regret, because a lot of those places are filled with assholes.

Comment with Terms/Acronyms Not Found Here

If you’ve seen terms or acronyms that I didn’t explain in this post, feel free to ask about them in the comments. I’ll make sure to get back to you within the next 24 hours.

One Comment

  1. Hi Ian, Veanna & Dennis here. We had to come and check out your newest venture. I, Dennis, have long been very interested in VR possibilities. I remember reading an Issac Asimov novel decades ago about a society in which everyone had their own planet to live on and visited each other through a sophisticated VR app. A woman was killed by a neighbor who visited her and she didn’t know he was there in his physical body.

    Anyway, we both follow quantum physics and understand that this whole universe is a hologram. So VR is just a working out in the human experience of what is really happening in “reality”. Illusions within illusions. We love the story of our lives, it’s like a VR game playing out 24/7. But we get a kick out of it.

    Wish you great success in this venture. Have a real day.

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