Feb. 19, 2015 | By Simon

Ever since Google announced their Cardboard VR setup for Android phones, developers have been flocking to create new and better experience for low-cost and affordable virtual reality experiences.  While the literal ‘cardboard’ route for Google’s Cardboard is without a doubt very affordable, it is also not necessarily the most rigid option when considering that people may be traveling with the headset or otherwise using it on-the-go.

Aiming to create a better and more rigid VR headset experience that leverages the same functionalities as Google Cardboard, 3D printing enthusiast Rene Meeh has created a 3D printable virtual reality headset that incorporates a phone as the on-board computer.

After using 3D printers when working with various jewelry designs and prototypes for over a decade, Meeh became familiar with 3D design, modeling, rendering and printing before starting his own company in 2007 that focuses on 3D animations and photo-realistic renderings.  After moving to the United States in 2012, Meeh started working for Google as an independent Google Business Photographer for Google Street View - whose immersive 3D photography is where he naturally became interested in Google’s VR headset.     

As soon as he was able to afford a 3D printer, he started bringing his CAD concepts to life. Although there are a few VR headsets that support a phone, Meeh chose to focus his design on being able to support the large OnePlus One smartphone, which features full-HD resolution and fast processor for just $300.  

"There are a few VR Headsets for phones out there and none of them supports a large smart phone like the OnePlus One." Meeh told 3ders.org.

"The OnePlus One phone has full HD resolution, an ultra fast processor and exceptional battery life. This makes it just perfect for a VR headset." Meeh said. "After having travelled recently on American airlines with no video on domestic flights and one mini screen in the center row on an international flight without control, I thought this must be the perfect travel companion. Also my wife was looking for a way to follow her spin classes without any distraction from the surroundings."

“When I started working on this project I had my OnePlus One in mind,” said Meeh.   

“Only a few [VR headsets] can adjust the pupillary distance and/or diopter if you are slightly far or short sighted. In addition, only a few allow you to use the phone camera to switch between virtual reality and your real environment. I see this as an important security feature and this also makes the headset ready for augmented reality applications.”

In addition to requiring an option to adjust the pupillary distance and/or diopter if you are slightly far or short sighted, Meeh also wanted to ensure that his design would be both lightweight and easy for others to print on their own FDM 3D printers.  

Using lenses that he stripped from two magnifying glasses, Meeh prototyped his concept by measuring the optimal distance between the lenses and the phone to ensure that there would be a sharp image for the viewer.  Once he had these measurements in place, he started the 3D modeling process using McNeel Rhino.

After 3D printing several prototypes on his CTC 3D Printer, Meeh was able to iron out the final details for a finished design, which is currently available for download on Makerbot’s Thingiverse. Although somebody who chooses to 3D print the VR headset will need to purchase some additional supplies (including magnifying glasses and headstraps), the design is much cheaper than other VR headsets including the Oculus Rift, even if a user is limited to their smartphone.  

When worn, the VR headset design enables a user to adjust the lens through a design feature that moves the focus of the magnifying lenses.

Although the VR headset doesn’t have its own app, it works perfectly with existing apps including “VR Player” and “Go Show”, which are both available in the Google Play store.  

"For watching movies with the VR headset I have tested “VR Player” from the Play Store." Meeh said. "It allows you to control the app using voice commands, or a paired Bluetooth game controller. VR Player also lets you switch from your movie to your phone camera via voice command."

"Another great app for watching movies with the headset is called “Go show”. It emulates a real theater with a large screen in front of you." Meeh added. According to Meeh, the “Go Show” app enables a user to use his headset design with a variety of features including adjustable screen size, ambient lighting, virtual “seat selection”, side by side 3D movies, and even voice commands.

With the amount of Android apps with VR capabilities growing exponentially, Meeh’s VR headset design seems to be the perfect solution for those who want to use the technology cheaply and on-the-go with little fuss.  

Adds Meeh:

“In short, you wear your headset, adjust your lenses, start your player, find your film, relax and watch your program wherever you are.”

You can download Meeh's VR Headset over at Thingiverse.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Nikolay wrote at 2/26/2015 1:00:43 PM:

Awesome!!! Will definitely try to make it

Dane wrote at 2/22/2015 6:26:49 AM:

Where can I buy one of these!!!

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