A Low Cost VR Headset

Virtual reality systems have been at the forefront of development for several decades. While there are  commercial offerings now, it’s interesting to go back in time to when the systems were much more limited. [Colin Ord] recently completed his own VR system, modeled on available systems from 20-30 years ago, which gives us a look inside what those systems would have been like, as well as being built for a very low cost using today’s technology.

The core of this project is a head tracker, which uses two BBC Microbits as they have both the accelerometer and compass needed to achieve the project goals. It is also capable of tracking an item and its position in the virtual space. For this project, [Colin] built everything himself including the electronics and the programming. It also makes use of Google Cardboard to hold the screen, lenses, and sensors all in the headset. All of this keeps the costs down, unlike similar systems when they were first unveiled years ago.

The ground-up approach that this project takes is indeed commendable. Hopefully we can see the code released, and others can build upon this excellent work. You could even use it to take a virtual reality cycling tour of the UK.

3 thoughts on “A Low Cost VR Headset

  1. I read somewhere that VR has been emerging recently in large part not because the technology has made a breakthrough, but instead that a number of necessary patents have expired, so now those trolls aren’t holding that tech hostage anymore. Our broken IP system at work again.

    This is a really cool project. Amazing what the hardware back then was really capable of.

    1. A $20 Headset, that has it’s own display and doesn’t use a smartphone is pretty amazing. However, there seems to be a question of which is better, the $20 2560 x 1440 unit or the $30 1440 x 1440 unit? At first glance you would think the 2560 x 1440 would obviously be the preferred one, However, searching the net it would appear that may be using a single 5 inch display is side by side mode such that the resolution is split between both eyes, Whereas the 1440 x 1440 seems to use 2 smaller 2.89 inch displays. Therefore it might be preferred. That might explain the $30 price tag.

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