With drones playing such a significant role in commercial production, competition and personal entertainment, improving on the way people operate and experience flight was an inevitability. With the introduction of FPV (First Person View) goggles, pilots now have a better vantage point than ever before when operating their drones. As with any new development to the tech world, there is a learning curve involved, not to mention some options regarding performance and functionality. There are a few different types of these goggles to choose from, and this guide will introduce you to your options as well as some key features to look for in helping you choose the pair to purchase.
What Are First Person View Goggles?
Before you can get into all of your options, you have to first understand what this equipment is. To put it very plainly, this offers you the ability to put goggles over your eyes that give you an immersive screen to watch based on footage captured in real time from a camera receiver on your drone. This has completely changed the competitive stakes of drone racing, but also has plentiful applications for both recreational and commercial use. The device allows for farther and faster flying with far more precision, according to an informative article from droneflyers. Another version of these types of goggles are also used to play recreated versions of old fashioned games to enable a richer experience.
Types of FPV Goggles
Primarily, there are two types of FPV goggles that the average consumer can purchase. While the area can get very gray in between the two types, with many of the top companies offering options that easily fit into either category, understanding the two types can help you to focus your search to a pair that best suits your needs.
Arguably speaking, the market for goggles right now is highly catering to those who want to race their drones casually or competitively for sport. The models that are released for this kind of use focus much more on fast response times between the receivers to give you responses to imagery changes measured in milliseconds (and nanoseconds for some of the top tier brands).
High Resolution Goggles
As much as the market right now might be focusing on the fast response times needed for a competitive advantage in racing, there is another emerging market that is far more suitable for the average drone pilot. These types of goggles focus more on vivid clarity and high-resolution detail, offering an operator the experience of literally flying the path they are directing their drone through.
Features For Various Goggles
There are components required to successfully use technology like this, but as with any electronic, there are varying degrees in quality and purpose. Here are some of the terms that you might see, and what they actually mean when you buy them:
Interestingly enough, many FPV goggles are combined with analog receivers to transmit the signal from the drone’s camera back to the device. While in low interference areas this might be a great way to have better range for your drone and equipped camera, the possibility of cross interference can prove problematic.
This is the preferred receiver for the goggles being released by the top companies like Fat Shark and DPI. This offers a more concentrated connection between the drone’s camera and the goggles, even if it is at the expense of some of the possible range.
– IPD (Inter Pupillary Distance)
This references the ability that you have to adjust the portions of the screen inside of the goggles to better suit your eyes. If you are looking at a model that does not offer adjustments, it is better to try these out before purchasing them to ensure that they are easy for your eyes.
– High Definition / High Resolution
Much like televisions, these terms refer to the overall quality of the imagery that you can see when you are looking through your goggles at the camera’s captured footage.
– FOV (Field of View)
This is actually a critical component to understand, because not all cameras and goggles are ideal for one another. For example, many cameras that are to be used with goggles are ideal for a 4:3 ratio, yet some higher end offerings set their goggles to register a wider image of 16:9, which can distort the image if your current camera is not designed for widescreen. Another consideration is lack of peripheral vision even with the best of views available, so it is advisable to bring a spotter along when you fly.
– Built-In Receiver
Some goggles do not have a receiver at all, and leave it to you the consumer to choose the one that best suits your needs. Many racing goggles have built in receivers that coincide with use of the racing bands.
This refers to the ability of your goggles to record footage of the flights that you are taking. Usually this saves to SD format via a slot in the device.
– Head Tracking
This is an advanced feature, but one that can greatly change the way that you experience a flight with your drone. Some models offer head tracking, which literally turns the camera in conjunction with the movements of your head to allow you to visualize your surroundings better as you fly.
The Fun of FPV
It isn’t difficult to appreciate how an on-board camera connected to a “virtual reality” style headset can be appealing in a number of ways. This kind of immersive experience can re-energize those that might have gotten a little burnt out on drones, or it could be an amazing experience to share with your children as they are learning to pilot UAVs for the first time. There are many FPV drone options for kids like top choices found on ProphotoUAV Best Kids Drones guide. There is nothing quite like the sensation of flight, and these goggles get you closer than ever to experiencing it firsthand.
Buying A Pair of FPV Goggles
Choosing the right set for your needs comes down to a consideration about what you consider to be important features and the kind of performance that you expect from it. For commercial applications like surveillance and pick up/drops, you might find higher resolution to be something far more appealing than how many frames per second and how quickly the camera responds. For highly competitive racing drones and pilots, you might consider the incredible response time to be paramount above all else.
Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of First Person View goggles and how they can change the way that you pilot drones and experience the flights that you take. This advancement has been instrumental in improving the way that people feel about drones, adding a new perk for those who have already been enthusiasts of the hobby, as well as a new selling point for those that had been on the fence about getting a drone. If you still need some more convincing, you might want to check out this video to learn how to set your Visual Transmitter and FPV Goggles on the same Frequency.