DIY oculus rift VR

For those that absolultely can’t wait to get to experience the Oculus Rift, you can follow these plans to build your own.

MTBS3D forum user [Rfurlan] pledged in the oculus rift kickstarter (which concluded last night), but simply couldn’t wait till November/December to get his developer kit. That, and he’s probably only getting one, and who can live with only one? Since [Palmer], the creator of the oculus rift has been very open about parts, [Rfurlan] was able to compile build instructions for your very own Oculus Rift! Keep in mind though, this is only the immersive display, not the tracking component. It is also, possibly not exactly the same as the oculus, but rather the same as a recent prototype.

At one point he was having issues finding the correct lenses and [Palmer] jumped in to make some suggestions to keep things going. That’s the kind of enthusiasm that we love to see from an innovator, even when he’s in the middle of a kickstarted for the very item that [Rfurlan] is creating. This is a testament to the VR community.

Lets take a look at what makes this thing tick, and why it is such a big deal.

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The Simulacrum, an innovative solution to walking in Virtual Reality

If you’ve been following along with immersive gaming, even casually, you’ve probably considered the difficulty in trying to do a comfortable and believable “walk” in a game. The first thing that usually pops into peoples minds are Omni Directional Treadmills, or ODTs. There are many problems with these, one of the biggest simply being cost. They’re very expensive.

[Zalo] at the MTBS3d forums has been working on his own very cost effective solution called the “Simulacrum”. He has built this for under $100 and it allows for a walking motion to be translated into the game. As you can see in the video below it works fairly well, even when one is out of commission for repairs (hence the limp).

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We’re getting an Oculus Rift Dev Kit

Before you get jealous of the massive amount of sway that hackaday must’ve tossed at these guys to get a dev kit, don’t be. We just funded the kickstarter like everyone else. This is exciting news though since, as you probably know, I’m very fond of immersive gaming and have always craved a strong VR rig.

We are expecting our dev kit some time in December. I have no idea exactly what we’ll do with it. Right now [John Carmak] has made the iD engine work with it and it ships with Doom3. They’ve stated that it will work with the Unreal engine as well. Even though I saw [Gabe Newell] from valve in the video, I don’t see any source engine compatibility in the list. I really would love to see that one added, especially since Valve released the source film maker for free.

So, who has ideas about what to do with this? I’d like to build a telepresence rig with stereo vision, possibly mounted on a radio controlled car chassis.

Where is my *%$#! virtual reality display?

For years I’ve been asking, loudly and frequently, where’s my F*&#$%ing virtual reality?  I realize that many of us, depending on what influenced our dreams of VR will have different definitions, so let me elaborate. When I was a kid, I played Dactyl Nightmare at the Union station in St. Louis. You stepped inside this “stage”, donned a massive clunky headache inducing HMD, and brandished a floating joystick of doom to challenge other players and a flying Pterodactyl.  I was awe struck. My 12 year old brain decided that this was the future.

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VR! now with more kinect, wiimote, and vuzix

Those of us that remember when you could actually go to a mall and play on a VR game machine, tend to remember it fondly. What happened? The computing horsepower has grown so much, our graphics now days are simply stunning, yet there’s been no major VR revival. Yeah, those helmets were huge and gave you a headache, but it was worth it.  With the 3d positioning abilities of the latest game crazes, the Wiimote and the Kinect, [Nao_u] is finally taking this where we all knew it should have gone(google translated). Well, maybe we would have had less creepy anime faces flying around squirting ink, but the basics are there. He has created a VR system utilizing the Wiimote for his hand position, a Vuzix display for head positioning, and the kinect for body tracking. Even with the creepy flying heads I want to play it, especially after seeing him physically ducking behind boxes in the video after the break. Long live VR!

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Scan room, explore virtually

[Patrick] directed us to his project for alternate realism. The final goal is to be able to walk around in a space wearing a head mounted display, exploring a virtual representation of that space. This virtual representation could be altered, stylized, augmented and modified in countless ways. It is an exploration in perception, similar to enjoying different styles of painting, we could enjoy different styles of viewing a real space. Currently, it isn’t quite real time. He has to scan a room with a somewhat bulky device, then plug into his display to explore it. Being able to scan quickly and reliably enough shouldn’t be far off. [Patrick] notes that others have done almost real time scans at home already.

Perspective tracking with only a web cam

[Johhny chung Lee], eat your heart out. Check out what these guys are doing with face tracking and immersive 3d as their final project in class. They’re using a singe camera and an FPGA to produce the demo you see in the video. Facial tracking is done by skin color, so that might have some issues in some environments, but being able to have perspective shift with you, without rigging up some more hardware is fantastic.

We realize that this is completely different that what [Johnny] is doing. We love [Johnny]‘s work and think it is ground breaking to be able to pull this stuff off with a cheap game controller. We just couldn’t help but draw the parallel from the end result.

[thanks Bruce]

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