Morton Leonard Heilig is largely credited with creating the first ever virtual reality device. While his invention wasn’t a compact as headset it was pretty impressive technology for the 1960s.
Sensorama was a bulky arcade style machine that is one of the earliest known examples of immersive, multi-sensory technology. It was able to display stereoscopic 3-D images in a wide-angle view, provide body tilting, supply stereo sound, and also had tracks for wind and aromas to be triggered during the film.
Heilig shot and edited six short films that ran on the machine and provided the user ‘The Cinema Of The Future’.
Strangely despite it being cutting edge technology for that time Heilig was not able to secure funding for his device. The investors just didn’t know how to make money off it. The project was soon closed but not before becoming an inspiration for many future attempts at VR.