Behold A DIY VR Headset Its Creator Will “Never” Build Again

Unsatisfied with commercial VR headset options, [dragonskyrunner] did what any enterprising hacker would: gathered parts over time and ultimately made their own. Behold the Hades Widebody (HWD), a DIY PC VR headset that aims for a wide field of view and even manages to integrate some face and eye tracking.

The Fresnel elements hugging the primary lenses provide a way of extending the display into the wearer’s peripheral vision.

[dragonskyrunner] is — and we quote — “NEVER building one of these again.” The reason is easily relatable to anyone who has spent a lot of time and effort creating something special: it does the job it was created for, but it also has limitations and is a lot of work. If one were to do it all over again, there would be a host of improvements and changes to consider. But one won’t be doing it all over again any time soon because it’s done now.

The good news is that [dragonskyrunner] made an effort to document things, so there is at least a parts list and enough details for any suitably motivated hacker to replicate the work and perhaps even put their own spin on it.

The Hades Widebody has a dual-lens arrangement and wide displays that aim to provide a wider field of view than most setups allow. There’s a main lens in front of the user’s eyes and a cut Fresnel lens providing a sort of extension to the side. [dragonskyrunner] claims that while there is certainly not a seamless transition between the lens elements, it does a better job than an Ambilight at providing a sense of visuals extending into the wearer’s peripheral vision.

The DIY spirit of making a piece of hardware to suit one’s own needs is exactly the sort of thing that would fit into our 2023 Cyberdeck content, and while a headset by itself isn’t quite enough to qualify (devices must have some form of usable input and output), it just might get those creative juices flowing.

13 thoughts on “Behold A DIY VR Headset Its Creator Will “Never” Build Again

  1. The way the imgur album was instantly deleted and the creator claiming they would “never” make it again are some interesting coincidences.
    Not saying anything did happen, of course.

  2. The “never building one again” also brings to mind something I remember a builder of Micro RC planes (we’re talking single-digit grams *in total*) said: even if he did offer such a labor-intensive thing for sale, no one would want to pay the price he’d charge because of the work involved.

  3. I never understand why they don’t make a rig to put on your back. Like having a backpack or even something like a laptop strapped to your back for computing power. Wire going from back to the headset.

    1. A “Backpack PC” is something I want to do at some point, but the main reason why it likely didn’t really catch on is a PC powerful enough for VR that someone would actually want to use is gonna be pretty dang expensive. Which would be better spent on a full-on desktop machine that can be the swiss-army-knife that a proper PC is best at being. Plus with wanting to do things like sit down (and sleep for the strange people that do that), a backpack PC is more cumbersome than something that has all of the compute in the headset (or ideally, attached to the back of the head strap) itself, which is what most people seem to be wanting / striving for.

      1. Actually won’t be that expensive anymore – the required specs for functional VR in many titles is still something like a 980 TI or 1080 for GPU and similarly old generation for CPU as long as it has fast cores over core count. The compute actually required for VR has become really quite common and the headsets have not taken huge leaps in resolution, frame rate etc to really demand more computing power to get visibly better results – the headset are largely the limiting factor it seems.

        Obviously to get the absolute best performance you want better hardware, but the point at which you cease getting very noticeable performance improvement and need make few or even no noticeable in the headset visual quality compromises for good frame rate is probably around the same hardware as the more budget maybe low middle end of new ‘gaming’ laptop now. Obviously the actual VR title and headset will matter to the results you get, so don’t take this as a universal rule! I am just observing that you don’t actually need top end hardware the way you did when VR first started become a consumer product.

        The real downside to a backpack for VR is that it is computationally intensive enough run sensible sized battery flat really quite quickly – so you end up tethering the backpack to the socket instead, which really isn’t a gain over tethering to the PC, carrying a stupidly heavy battery on your back or accepting you will only ever get short VR sessions.

    2. These were indeed made, look up “HP VR Backpack”. They were stupid expensive and very niche when they released. I have thought about making my own, however the idea of strapping something to my back that puts out 90+ watts of heat, and figuring out how to power it all does not appeal.

      1. Very cool, but not exactly my idea… the backpack doesn’t need to be the PC, it can stream video wireless from a big PC. The backpack should just be the guts of the glasses, so that the glasses can be ultra light.

        1. Then why bother with a backpack at all? There are standalone VR headsets that have Arm processors that can screen mirror if you dont care about having onboard processing. Doesnt take much to shove a pi or some other microboard into a headset.

        2. The motherboard in a Quest 2 is about 1.5 x 3 inches in size and is sandwiched between the lcd and a small heatsink/fan combo. Most of the bulk in the HMD is the lenses, cameras, etc. Stuff that really needs to be in front of the face for the headset to work. The battery is along the top of the headset and is maybe 3/8″ thick and about the same 1.5 x 3 inch footprint.You’d maybe save 1/4″ of an inch in thickness on the headset if you move the motherboard to a backpack. Really a backpack would be total overkill, as it would fit in a box the size of a 2.5″ external hard drive. You could easily fit the brains of the HMD into a shirt pocket.

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