Powering the Oculus Rift with USB

rift

Oculus Rift dev kits are starting to make their way onto the workbenches of makers around the globe. Some are even going so far as to tear open the hardware and see how they can improve it. [Mike] didn’t like the fact the Oculus Rift needed a wall wart power supply, so he modded it so it can be powered over a USB port.

The key insight for this mod comes after [Mike] put a Kill-a-Watt between his outlet and the Rift’s power adapter. He found only 600 mA of current was being used by the Rift, assuming 100% efficiency in the adapter. A USB port is supposed to provide 500 mA of current, so with a soldering gun, [Mike] bridged the DC input jack and the USB port on the Rift. Perhaps unsurprisingly, everything worked perfectly.

In case you’ve forgotten, Hackaday is getting one of these Oculus Rift dev kits. We’ll post a teardown when [Caleb] learns to share. You can check out a video of [Mike]‘s modded Rift and some dolla dolla billz after the break.

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VFX1 Virtual Reality Headset LinkBox

 

[Kevin Mellott's] take on the VFX1 was to update it so it can be used with modern computers requiring just a USB socket and VGA feed.

The VFX1 is a Virtual Reality Headset that hit the market in the first half of the 90’s. The headset was the first of its kind to hit the home market and was ahead of its time. The VFX1 was developed and marketed by Forte Technologies, who’s assets where purchased in 1997 by Vuzix who now produce modern day Video glasses with optional tracking system.

What [Kevin] has achieved is nothing more than remarkable. The original system required a massive ISA card and a link from this card to the Feature Connector on the display card. [Kevin] did away with the ISA card and FCON replacing it with what he calls the LinkBox. This LinkBox has serial or USB out and accepts stereo/mono VGA input or RGB.

The system can now be used with modern day computers including laptops. Those into VR should really check this out.

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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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