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Gaming/Image shaking on Gear VR

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QUESTION: I realize that this may fall outside your area of expertise, but I am at a loss of what to do, and even just a little bit of advice would be helpful. I've been using the Gear VR for about a week now, first on a family member's phone, and now on my own - it's been the same headset though. Other than some occasional blurriness, I never experienced any problems, until flying out of state a couple days ago. Most of the VR environments are still displaying properly, but the images in an "app" called Oculus 360 photos are shaking whenever I move my head. I've used this particular "app" many times over the past week, without this problem ever occurring; although it's possible that I've only done so on my family member's phone - I can't say for sure. I "do" know that I've used some other apps on my own phone that worked perfectly before travelling and are crashing now.

Unfortunately, since I'm out of town, I can't test the Gear VR headset on any phones other than my own. My technical knowledge is incredibly limited, so I have zero idea of what is going wrong or how to fix it. My biggest fear is that something might have been damaged by the airport security. While I know that you may not be familiar with the Gear VR, do you think that the airport security could be a possible cause of the problem? It would be nice to at least narrow things down.

ANSWER: I am completely unfamiliar with "GearVR" or many other modern VR solutions, so I'm afraid I can't help you there. However with respect to airport security, I may be able to offer some information at least:

- If the equipment was mishandled (e.g. dropped), by anyone, it may be a cause for damage/problems.

- The X-ray scanners that many airports use will cause damage to conventional film, but are considered generally safe for modern electronics (e.g. cellphones, digital cameras, laptops, etc). The same goes for metal detectors, although generally you wouldn't be passing that equipment through a metal detector (as it would set it off).

In short, I wouldn't expect airport security to be the culprit, unless the equipment was dropped during inspection, or something else similar to that.

Sorry I can't offer any input on the specific application/hardware you're using; my only advice there would be to contact the manufacturer (especially if the device is under warranty) and see if you can have the hardware checked out by a service center, or if there is a diagnostic procedure they can prescribe to test functionality or calibration.

-bob




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for the fast response! It's a relief to know that the X-ray scanners haven't done any damage. The Gear VR was in a carry-on, so no airport employees ever handled it. I may see if there's a service center near me, but I've also posted requests for help on a variety of other websites and have been trying to google potential solutions. One webpage that I came across suggested that "magnetic interference created by items such as computers, TVs, or electric cables" could cause unusual image movement on the Gear VR's screen.

I don't know anything about how "magnetic interference" is caused, but I never had a problem using the Gear VR near computers or TVs back home. Right now, I'm in my brother and sister-in-law's apartment, and if anything, they only have fewer electronic devices. But since there are, of course, many other tenants in the same building, most of whom have their own TVs, computers, etc, I suppose that there are probably a larger number of devices within a closer proximity here, than in my parents' suburban house (which I where I've been using the Gear VR in the past).

I'd be very, very surprised if the Gear VR hasn't been designed to withstand whatever amount of magnetism is emitted in an average apartment complex. But does it seem like even a remote possibility to you that this could be the problem? Or could the fact that I had both my laptop and the Gear VR in the same backpack during the flight have caused a problem, even though my laptop was of course, powered off?

ANSWER: I'm not sure what is meant by that "magnetic interference" bit either - it would be unlikely caused by your laptop, or other consumer devices; perhaps a very strong magnet such as in an MRI machine could cause a problem with some devices, but that's not similar to what you'd expect in a residential setting. When "TVs" are mentioned, I'm always curious if the documentation means traditional CRT-based TVs (which do emit magnetic "lobes" (they have a large electromagnet in them) as well as a degree of radiation), or more modern LCD-based TVs (which are much more inert). CRT-based TVs can be problematic with some hardware, such as unshielded speakers, but it shouldn't be anything permanent. If you're worried about interference within the apartment, have you tried the VR equipment in a more or less "empty" space (e.g. empty parking garage, park, etc - somewhere where there won't be much in the way of electronic devices)? That'd be my only thought as far as ruling out potential interference, barring information from the manufacturer or service center.

-bob


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Not actually a question, so no need to respond - but I just wanted to let you know that I've figured out the solution to this. The image shaking was simply due to my phone being on power saving mode. A pretty dumb mistake on my part, but I guess that power saving must have gone through a redesign for the S6, as it was always highly noticeable on the S5.

I've also been having some trouble with a video, but I've determined that it's simply buggy. I've tried watching it with a different phone attached to my Gear VR headset, and I even contacted someone on reddit, who tried to watch the video on their own Gear VR - it didn't work for either of us. So I'm glad to know that the problem doesn't lie with any of my hardware.

Answer
Glad to hear you sorted things out - a low power mode would explain performance-related concerns. With respect to the video that is having problems, if you (or the person on reddit) is the original author, you may try re-encoding it as there may have been an issue at encode-time that left it flawed. Re-encoding the bad file will likely not help though, as the damage is likely already done there.

-bob

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Bobbert

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner. I have a personal interest in PC gaming, and can apply my experience to such an end. Questions related to 3D games on OS X or other platforms are less likely to get answered.

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