Oculus Rift just gave a huge gift to the open-source VR world

Eric Abent - Oct 11, 2017
Oculus Rift just gave a huge gift to the open-source VR world

Oculus today announced that a new version of its Rift Development Kit – aptly named Rift Development Kit 2 – is now available for DIYers to peruse. This open source kit comes will all the information you need to begin making your own VR headset, and offers quite a few improvements over the original RDK. If you’re interested in what it might take to build a VR headset on your own, this is definitely worth checking out.

In its announcement last night, Oculus says that development on RDK2 was started with the release of the original development kit. As Oculus was still a small startup at the time this began, resources were limited. Oculus says that it had to create RDK2 with a team that wasn’t much larger than the original Rift Development Kit team, with a tight launch schedule constricting things further.

Because of those two factors, there is a focus on off-the-shelf parts in some areas of RDK2. For instance, in the CAD in Headset/Mechanical, Oculus notes that users will find reference to “an entire screen assembly from a Galaxy Note 3.” The company says that by repurposing the display for use in a headset, it was able to reduce the schedule for RDK2’s creation significantly.

As far as what else has changed from RDK1, Oculus says that the assembly is “much more complex” overall, with the headset cable actually being one of the most complex parts of the entire package. That stress over the cable ultimately paid off, though, as the work Oculus put into its design is “probably one of the most directly valuable areas of knowledge we carried on to the Rift.”

In the end, Oculus warns that some of the components in RDK2 will be “challenging or impossible to source today,” so those of you looking to build a fully functioning headset by following only the development kit are likely going to be disappointed. Still, you can at least use this as a jumping off point, and if you have no interest in attempting to build a headset of your own, it’ll at least be interesting to see how Oculus came up with some of its ideas in the Rift. The whole development kit can be viewed now on GitHub, so go ahead and dive in.

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