Mar.17, 2013

The University of Southern California launched yesterday an open source DIY virtual reality website, which contains the blueprints of many of their custom VR headsets and software projects, including 3D printed viewer, some modifications to the Oculus Rift such as adjustable mod for mounting sensors and eye cup mod to increase FOV of the headset. Users can download all the hardware and software package to 3D print virtual reality hardware and make their own head mounted displays.

There has been an increase in interest in virtual reality (VR) which uses a computer to create a simulated three-dimensional world. VR headsets that could immerse people in 3D worlds have always been expensive. Using low-cost components developed for mobile devices, a start-up called Oculus VR, hopes to put a virtual reality headset in the hand of many a video gamer. Oculus VR's virtual reality headset costs just a few hundred dollars but it can make VR into an immersive and entertaining experience.

The launch of the open source DIY virtual reality website is truly exciting for makers and developers that they can use these open source to further the development of virtual reality.

The first two projects are low-cost immersive viewers: VR2GO and Socket HMD.

VR2GO mobile viewer

The 3D printed VR2GO mobile viewer enables the creation of 3D, immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences using just a smart phone. These low-cost, lightweight systems can be used to create portable virtual reality applications for training, education, health and fitness, entertainment and more. Currently the 3D files of VR2GO mobile viewer are available for the iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5, and iPod 5.

Socket HMD

The Socket HMD is a plug and play,customizable immersive stereo display with a 90º field of view and 1280×800 resolution. You can download and 3D print the parts out and follow the provided guides, from 3D printing the plastic housing to assembling the circuitry to put together.

Also available is modifications for the Oculus Rift, one is snap-on, adjustable mod for mounting sensors and another is customizable truncated eye cup mod.

Unofficial Sensor Mount Mod

You can mount this customizable Sensor Mount on Microsoft's Kinect, a Stereo Camera, or any other peripheral you choose to work with, all stl files are free to download.

Eye Cup Mods

The eye cup for Oculus Rift could increase FOV of the headset and allows the user to get closer to the display.

MXR Code and FAAST

Under the MXR Code category you can find all software, scripts, and packages which are compatible for development with all MxR Projects. In addition you can download FAAST, "Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit", a middleware to facilitate integration of full-body control with games and VR applications using either OpenNI or the Microsoft Kinect for Windows skeleton tracking software.

FAAST includes a custom VRPN server to stream up to four user skeletons over a network, allowing VR applications to read the skeletal joints as trackers using any VRPN client. Additionally, the toolkit can also emulate keyboard input triggered by body posture and specific gestures. This allows the user add custom body-based control mechanisms to existing off-the-shelf games that do not provide official support for depth sensors.

Watch the video below showing how FAAST can be used to control off-the-shelf video games such as World of Warcraft.

The team behind the site is Mark Bolas and David Nelson from USC's Mixed-Reality Lab. Mark Bolas, director of the lab, is a young inventor who holds more than 20 patents. His work focuses on creating virtual environment transducers and experiences that fully engage one's perception and cognition in order to form a visceral memory of the experience. Bolas is now also advisor of the startup Oculus VR.

David Nelson is the Special Project Manager of the ICT MxR Lab. He has a background in narrative and documentary film production and has created content in the feature film, documentary and music video. The MxR team will join this year's IEEE VR Conference to show case open virtual reality.





Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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