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For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone 50

Posted by timothy
from the watch-movies-on-the-plane dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Not everyone can drop a few hundred dollars on a VR headset, but that doesn't mean they can't experience VR! For those with the time and a bit of handiwork skill, this DIY guide from guest writer Ohaple will show you how to make a smartphone-based VR headset for as little as $20. Along the way, you'll learn the hardware and software basics of a VR headset." This project screams for a ready-made commercial version; does anyone know of existing purpose-built headgear? As one of the comments on the linked tutorial says, Poppy seems close, but lacks an LED for tracking.
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For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone

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  • well, virtually, anyway.
  • Saw this on The Reg earlier : https://www.durovis.com/ [durovis.com]
  • Rounded rectangles. Violates Apple patents. Regular rectangles.. Violates Microsoft Win8 design patents.
    • Here's a phone, call someone who gives half a shit.

      Fortunately there are still countries where it's not possible to patent every fart you pass.

    • Well... you're referencing the wrong patent there, and should Apple be granted a patent on their 2008 application for a strikingly similar idea, [uspto.gov] then yes, quite clearly this DIY smartphone based HMD would violate their patent (if it was produced and sold by a company that could be sued). And quit you're belly aching, I had this exact idea in July 2007 within days of owning my first smartphone. Should the concept be perfected, so that it was universal to any smartphone, and sent to market, I expect they woul
      • Dang, I had to go digging for that patent url, when less than a week ago it was someone else's story. [appletvhacks.net] Its only slightly important to note that I'm not the only one that remembered this, and that the idea is somewhat currently in the collective consciousness. I figured when I saw it that it was going to be one of those patents intended to prevent any such thing from ever making it to market, for whatever reason Apple might not want it developed. But now I really hope Apple has a viable product for release wh
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Hell, back in the VGA days, or maybe it was even CGA, I had a few games that recommended making a cardboard "view box" to strap over the double-screen displayed on your monitor for the full stereoscopic effect. Before that the View-Master had been around for almost a century, and before *that* there were prism-based toys that did much the same with pairs of stereoscopic photographs. Doing the same F'ing thing with a mobile screen with built-in motion sensors hardly seems innovative or patent-worthy. Exce

        • I'm nearly certain the basic concept has been around a lot longer than a century, and probably at least 2 or 3 millenia and more, when rudimentary optics (a nice way to say "holes") were used to view, say, a performance of dancing women behind a partition, in one respect, or to view minature depictions (a nice way to say "carvings" or "sketches") of women in various submissive or compromising positions in another. And I don't think this and what you've generously shared is going to matter to the clerks tha
          • by Immerman (2627577)

            No, we don't know all the unspoken rules that govern a patent examiner - but we *do* know the official, written rules which do so - and those rules require them to deny patents on non-novel technologies, mathematical algorithms, abstract ideas, and many other things which nevertheless routinely receive patents. Perhaps the examiners are only following orders when they grant such patents - but their actions are still illegal (well, extralegal at least) and carry a massive cost to the economy and the pace of

            • Yes, but... think about it, there are no more non-novel, original ideas. And there are other considerations, such as the purpose of the thing. For example, you just can't patent an electro magnet, but you can (or could reasonably recently) patent an MRI; you can't patent an automatic ball pitcher (anymore), but you can patent a gun that uses baseballs as amunition, also you could probably get a patent on a auto-baseball throwing "car denter and windshield breaker." My point is you can be validly awarded a
              • by Immerman (2627577)

                Did you mean "there are no more novel, original ideas"? If so my answer would be (A) Bullshit. and (B) So? Then there's no more need for patents. They were always a social contract of dubious benefit to begin with. Innovation tends to surge in countries that remove their patent system.

                >My point is you can be validly awarded a patent on something that is not original or novel in any way, but it is being applied in a way that original patent did not specifically cover.
                *Only* if the invention is also s

                • Did you mean "there are no more novel, original ideas"?

                  Yes, that is what I meant. Nice catch. I wrote the exact wrong thing, and yet you still were able to understand what I meant. I should really slow down when I respond to posts. Thanks.

                  If so my answer would be (A) Bullshit.

                  Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm sure your answer has value. heh, just kidding. My answer to that is "prove it." Show me this novel and orginal idea, that is new and not based on what came before, and is not standing on the shoulders of giants.

                  and (B) So? Then there's no more need for patents.

                  I don't see how you can legitamately draw that conclusion, certainly not by what yo

                  • by Immerman (2627577)

                    Wow, talk about reading a lot into my comment. Okay, lets agree that copyright is out of control, but irrelevant to the conversation. Let's further postulate that patents extend for a reasonable time-frame (aside from the methods of extending and renewing them I would agree), I'll ignore the other issues around software patents as well, since it sounds like you are familiar with that argument already, and they are really more of a distraction from the core topic. Also let me say that I am not opposed to p

  • VR headsets are expensive... and really who wants to shell out more money for another bit of junk.

    But this duel use concept has value. All the expensive bits are already in your phone.

    This is perfect. This is how it should be done.

    • I wonder how high he jumped the first time his phone got a notification while he was using it as a headset.

      This sounds like a neat project for even kids to do.

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Except for the fact that there is no reason for a phone to have a low enough "full-loop" latency (motion-tracking -> rendering -> screen refresh) to avoid rapidly inducing severe nausea in most users. And positional tracking, another essential component to limit nausea, would likely have to be done through live image analysis on a camera video feed, introducing even further lag, and likely saturating the limited CPU power of even a relatively powerful phone.

      This could be great for novelty purposes, m

      • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

        Yeah, this is a $20 solution...of you've already purchased a more expensive smartphone, web cam and don't mind moving your head reeeeaaaaally slowly so the lag from the screen mirroring to your phone doesn't affect you too badly.

  • Looks like it would be pretty easy to tape an LED with a little battery to your Poppy and I bet they could be talked into creating a version with either a visible or IR LED, if you asked really nice.

  • by rjejr (921275) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @10:03AM (#46794329)
    The Hasbro MY 3D Viewer has been out for about 3 years. No it doesn't connect to a PC bu it's wireless and 3D and works w/ your head motion, no LED required. Just add a bungie cord to strap it to your head for hands free motion. http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-V... [amazon.com]
  • So how long, because some geek wearing one of these in the Bay Area, has the shit kicked out of them by some Black Panther-wannabe Luddite?

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Why would you wear such a thing in public? VR and AR(including the crappy Glass implementation) are *completely* different concepts. Good luck walking down the street wearing a headset which completely blinds you to the world around you.

      Not to mention that virtually all the backlash against Glass isn't related to people having a screen strapped to their face, but to assholes walking around with a *camera* strapped to their face, often in situations where it's completely rude to be taking pictures. If I c

  • I'm not so sure I like all that wifi power that close to my head. It's not contacting the head however it is within one wave length for 2.4Ghz and a game is a lot longer than most phone calls.

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Consider this - your phone doesn't stop connecting to cellular/wifi networks just because the screen is off. How many hours per day do you suppose you microwave your nuts by having your phone in your pants pocket?

      • by MrKaos (858439)

        Consider this - your phone doesn't stop connecting to cellular/wifi networks just because the screen is off. How many hours per day do you suppose you microwave your nuts by having your phone in your pants pocket?

        None. I specifically turn all the radios off untill I am using them. Cellular I accept as a cost of carrying the phone and usually hands free when talking, on the table when sitting and in my pocket next to my ass whilst walking.

        I saw my Aunt use cells phones almost constantly for hours a day, no handset. She died of brain cancer and it was quite terrible to experience.

        just saying...

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          I suppose ass-cheek-cancer *is* probably less horrible. For what it's worth though I've still yet to see any study conclusively linking cell phones to cancer, suggesting that the link is tenuous at best. The strongest link I recall reading of was a link to benign cancers along the auditory nerve, and the correlation was insufficient to make a confident statement that a link existed.

          • by MrKaos (858439)

            I suppose ass-cheek-cancer *is* probably less horrible. For what it's worth though I've still yet to see any study conclusively linking cell phones to cancer, suggesting that the link is tenuous at best. The strongest link I recall reading of was a link to benign cancers along the auditory nerve, and the correlation was insufficient to make a confident statement that a link existed.

            Well until then I think I will err on the side of caution and use speaker phone and a wired earpeice for phone calls. I'd rather limit my exposure and take personal responsibility for my health, than to go through anything like brain cancer. After all an absence of evidence doesn't mean a link isn't there, all it means is no one has funded any science to find *if* a link exists.

            • by Immerman (2627577)

              A perfectly reasonable position. But there *have* been several at least apparently independent studies into the link - that no conclusive evidence has been found suggests that either any link is tenuous, or that all the multiple government-funded studies around the world have been quietly bought out. Granted I'm not quite prepared to totally discount the latter - there haven't been *that* many studies, it wouldn't have to be a major conspiracy.

  • This is what happens people have no clue about the technology they are working with. The cell phone antennae is far too close to the eyes. The human eyes consist of a thin membrane and a lot of water. It does not take much radiation to induce eye cancer. I never put a cell phone near my head. I always use speaker phone mode.
    • by sir-gold (949031)

      Put the cell phone in airplane mode first

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It does not take much radiation to induce eye cancer.

      Citation needed. No verified research has ever demonstrated that microwaves cause cancer.

      • Statistics can be arranged to show that anything and everything and nothing all cause cancer.

        Just as death happens when your heart stops beating, or your heart stops beating when you die. It's always coronary failure.
        --
        No information has been transmitted in this message.

    • Citation? some reason an AC Got modded down, but but no valid peer reviewed research has ever documented microwaves causing cancer, in fact there is a good body of science explaining why they don't http://true-progress.com/why-m... [true-progress.com]
  • This project screams for a ready-made commercial version; does anyone know of existing purpose-built headgear?

    Seriously? This is a question after quoting: Not everyone can drop a few hundred dollars on a VR headset,
    This means that there IS purpose-built headgear.

    If you mean to say 'cheap' or 'not-expensive' or 'in a low pricerange' then say so.

  • In my experience, mirroring a PC screen to an android phone adds a significant amount of lag.
    In the few seconds where they show both screens simultaneously, it looks like they are having those same lag issues

  • Here you go: Hasbro My3D

    https://www.google.ca/search?q... [google.ca]

  • As someone only 36, it frightens me just how bad the worlds grasp of English has become over the past 15 years, it's woeful.

    For $20, Build a VR headset WITH / USING your smartphone for goodness sakes.
    If you're building it for your smartphone, presumably the bloody smartphone gets to wear the headset.

    I'm sure you call /could care less/ though.

  • Half-baked solutions like this will have limited field of view (among other shortcomings). In order to get a wide FOV (which is important for immersion), Oculus is using very powerful aspheric lenses, which necessarily result in a distorted image. The distortion is "undone" by doing a pre-anti-distortion of the desired images prior to displaying them on the screen.

    Latency will be another big issue, especially from tracking using a webcam that's probably running at 30hz.

    I think that this stuff is great for

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