Yes, even you can afford Virtual Reality
This NY Times article from back in January takes a look at some of the ways people are creating Virtual Reality setups without having to spend a million dollars to do it. Although the article is focused on VR for artists, a number of geographers and others interested in geovisualization have been doing work involving the use of VR in geographic research. One of the initiatives highlighted is Canvas a collaborative project from the University of Illinois, where the well-known CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) system was developed. Now, for about $1000 per projector (with a minimum of 2 required), $300 for polarizing filters, (and whatever you can afford to spend on a good desktop, rear projection screens, stereo glasses, or even datagloves), you can have your own VR setup for teaching, art work, or research. The Canvas program offers a free software program called Syzygy to run the VR. So, if you’ve always wanted to try out VR, and you have a few thousand dollars lying around, go for it!
Update: One of our readers pointed out that the Geowall Consortium is another resource to help you put together a relatively inexpensive VR setup for scientific visualization.