diy - vr

Oculus Thrift

Originally Published on ActiveWirehead.com

April 16, 2015

I’m a huge fan of VR, I’ve wanted to explore VR since I first heard of it in the 90’s, or really since I saw Tron as a kid. I’ve been watching the developments at Oculus and I’ve desperately wanted my own Rift. Problem is, I don’t have the kind of money to throw down on an Oculus Dev Kit, just to have it become obsolete when the production version comes out. So here’s plan B: I build my own Rift for cheap. It’s not as nice as an Oculus DK2, and will be clearly eclipsed by the production version, but it’ll get me by and it only cost me $125 to build. 

The goggles are recognized by games as an Oculus DK1 and have about the same head tracking, but much better resolution. I guess that makes it an Oculus Rift DK1.5 or something like that. I can’t take credit for the idea or the custom software that runs it, but it’s mine and it works. It’s an STM32F3 Discovery board and a small LCD, built over a cheap set of cell-phone VR goggles. Later I’m going to build a custom enclosure and wrangle the wires, this is just the test model to make sure the hardware all works.

The real magic is probably in the Discovery board. It’s a sort of micro-controller with a bunch of built in sensors running it’s own ARM processor. It has two USB ports, one for programming it and one for using it. This one has been programmed to tell my computer that it’s an Oculus DK1 and provide head tracking data from it’s built in sensors.

The rig is a bit heavier than my buddie’s DK1, and the wires are a bit cumbersome. My next move is to wrangle the wires into a manageable group and make strap junction plate for the back of my head like the one Crescent Bay has to help distribute the load. I’ll probably make that and some brackets to hold everything neatly with my 3d printer.

Links:

Makers of the STM32F3

The “Foculus Rift” Project, I built my rig based on Yetifrisstlama’s work.

copyright 2015 Jason Benson