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Pictured: Samsung's leaked VR headset

Smartphone based headset, called Gear VR, expected to be officially revealed in September

Electronics giant Samsung appears to be emerging as the latest competitor in the virtual reality headset market.

An image of the corporation's prototype headset, believed to be called the 'Gear VR', leaked online on Wednesday, ahead of its expected official reveal at the IFA 2014 event in September.

Samsung's VR headset is believed to work with the corporation's Galaxy smartphones

The world-first public image of the prototype device shows it appears to use a track-pad on its side, and it is also speculated that the headset will work with smartphones much in the same way Google Cardboard does.

'Cardboard' is Google's makeshift box that users attach to their phone and place against their eyes, thus creating an improvised VR headset. The phone's gyroscopic sensors allows it to read head movement too, creating a rough-and-ready yet reasonably sophisticated VR experience.

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Samsung is said to be interested in taking this concept one step further by creating a plastic version that can incorporate various Galaxy smartphones via USB.

According to news site Sam Mobile, which published the first picture of Gear VR, there are also features which will further utilise smartphone capabilities.

"On the right side of the Gear VR, there is a see-through button, which uses the smartphone's rear-facing camera sensor to supply the user with a video feed of the real outside world," the website claimed.

"This way the user won't need to remove and wear the headset again and again, which will make the overall experience of wearing the headset easier than alternatives from Oculus or Sony."

Samsung is expected to reveal the Gear VR alongside its upcoming tablet, the Galaxy Note 4, at the IFA 2014 event in September.

Investment in virtual reality companies has surged in the past twelve months. In March, the social network giant Facebook announced it had agreed to buy Oculus VR in a deal worth $2 billion.