Heatsink Makes VR Even Cooler

Our first thought was that having big fins coming out of your VR goggles might not look very cool. But then we realized if you are wearing VR goggles, that’s probably not your biggest concern. (Ba-doom, tss.) Seriously, though, high-intensity graphics can cause your phone or device to get pretty toasty up there pressed against your face, so [arfish] set out to make a heatsink.

The build isn’t very hard. Some 0.8 mm aluminum sheet is easy to shape and cut. Thermal pads from the PC world help with heat transfer.

Thicker metal would make a better heat sink. So would ribbing to increase surface area. But both of those things would be a lot harder to work with. You do have to work with the sheet to make cut outs for the camera and maybe some other items, depending on your exact situation.

We wondered, though, if this would lend itself to competition like you see in PC cooling. After all, it wouldn’t be hard to mount a few fans and a battery — maybe the battery could go on the head strap or clip to your belt. Then water cooling can’t be far behind. We aren’t ready to lug a Dewar flask around with our VR gear, though, so there is a limit.

You may laugh at the idea, but we’ve freezing Arduino overclocks. Not to mention the water-cooled flashlight.

12 thoughts on “Heatsink Makes VR Even Cooler

  1. Here I was hoping for some cooling of the human wearing it, as those things can be quite good at making your head hot too… I’ve wondered about running water cooling through the umbilical on the Vive (or other) tethered to a big PC style VR rigs – seems like the easier solution being able to put some small hoses inside the face pads etc and just equalise it with ambient room temp, and shouldn’t make the umbilical any more annoying – just might add a little weight to whatever management system (if any) you are using and of course it will add a little more mass for the neck to work..

    Active cooling, probably with something like a peltier to make the cool side cold enough to distribute could work, even on the wireless ones. But getting it right seems quite hard, and you don’t want the outside heatsink to get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch when you take it off blind.

    Still very simple and functional upgrade, I’d probably have bent the heatsink overhanging bits , as it looks like there is clearance and keeping them closer to your face, angled to be hard to snag on things is probably a good idea in VR – it shouldn’t come up as the space should be clear, but its bound to at some point – I’m good at keeping an internal reference to the room in VR (no idea how but I always know with fair accuracy where and which way I’m facing) but my space is small enough, as I suspect are most folks that it wouldn’t take much to loose that and drift out of the ‘safe’ space (yes VR tries to steer you back if it knows, but some headsets are not that good at tracking, and it still relies on you not being to caught up in the virtual world to react, at which point something that could snag would be a bad idea.

    1. I’d be wary or running a water loop on an umbilical, but it might be possible to pump pre-chilled air down a fishtank air hose. Then the loop does not need to be closed, the incoming fresh air will clear away perspiration and the noise of the pump can be kept remote from the headset.

      1. Hard to pump a very compressible fluid down a tiny pipe of such length and air doesn’t carry heat near well though. Which is where water came in for me, though I guess using larger airline for the one way trip could work well enough, and with enough pump pressure its very possible, still expect it to be nosier and more energy intensive than a relatively tiny pump just cycling coolant.

        Possibly just cycle coolant through a radiator actually on the headset, tiny runs, minimal fluid volume, even lower pump requirements.

    2. Waterlines (a nightmare already) and unchecked, “blind” movements in meatspace? That’s a tug away from disaster.

      I’ll stick with the heatsink; shrink it down to a proper one and add an industrial mini Noctua.

  2. A bit pointles, though. Phones nowadays are designed to cool mainly trough the screen, as it is the surface with the least amount of skin touching it while under intense use ( you’d be holding the phone with everything beside our thumbs on the back of it, and just the thumb/other hand index finger touching the screen).

    With that, I really worry for the comfort of the user, as his eyes, eyelids and upper section of the cheeks might get pretty warm and moisty, from the lack of ventilation. This can cause the fluids on the eye to evaporate quicker than usual too, so, a few problems on a pack.

    I’ve been thinking of buying one of these myself, but to use it as just a headset, not a self contained device. To use with services like Iriun, Riftcat or Moonlight to stream games from the pc with VR format and view on such rig. I’ve been questioning myself about the ergonomics and comfort of doing so though, and have come up with the problems explained above.

    Please, feel free to share thoughts and ideas on the matter, let’s discuss this

    1. I think about 3d printing a frame for the phones with cooling vents that zig-zag to dim reflected light that enter the chamber, but allow a slow flow of air that would keep your face cool and not sweaty, while compromising little on of the xp the vr headset provide

  3. > “We wondered, though, if this would lend itself to competition like you see in PC cooling.”

    As a group of non-groupies; NO. You’ve been v ‘cool’ in the past, Al. A category? Fine… I guess. But a competition? In at least MY mind that is belittling.

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