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Are you looking for an affordable way to experience virtual reality? Look no further! In this article, we introduce you to the world of open-source virtual reality headsets.
Made by Passionate DIYers
Imagine building your own VR headset from scratch. That’s exactly what Maxim and Gabriel did when they were just 15 years old. Unable to afford a commercially available headset, they decided to create their own. Five years later, their creation evolved into Relativty.
Relativty is a fully open-source VR headset that supports SteamVR. It offers an immersive experience with its native 2K resolution and 120FPS display. Compatible with Arduino, this headset even includes experimental body tracking capabilities.
“This repository serves as a build guide. To learn more about the headset, visit Relativty.com,” says Maxim.
Made for Hackers
Keep in mind that Relativty is not a consumer product. It is a DIY project that embraces the hacker spirit. You are expected to build the headset yourself, just like Maxim and Gabriel did. This means getting your hands dirty with soldering irons and 3D printers.
While Relativty is a 3 Degrees of Freedom (3-DoF) VR headset without built-in controller support, it is designed to work seamlessly with SteamVR. However, if you’re looking for a more advanced DIY VR project with 6-DoF tracking and controller support, check out HadesVR.
Don’t worry if you’re new to this. Relativty has a welcoming community waiting for you at Relativty’s Guild on Discord. Join them to learn, share knowledge, and seek help.
Current Recommended Build – May 2023
If you’ve recently discovered Relativty and want to build your own headset, here’s an updated build guide to get you started. This guide explains how to build the minimum functional product, which you can then modify and improve according to your preferences.
To build the headset, you’ll need the following electronic components:
- ATmega32U4 Microcontroller (MCU) with USB HID support, such as an Arduino Pro Micro
- Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) supported by the FastIMU Library
- A small, high-resolution and high-refresh-rate PC display, along with a driver board that connects it to your computer. Refer to the HadesVR documentation for display options.
Wiring the IMU and MCU is crucial for power and communication. Make sure to follow the instructions provided and connect the correct pins. Remember to check the voltage compatibility between the MCU and IMU to prevent damage.
For the mechanical build, gather the following parts:
- Housing: 3D-printable STL files provided in the Relativty_Mechanical_build folder
- Lenses: 40mm diameter/50mm focal length lenses (available on platforms like Aliexpress)
- Strap and Facial Interface: Consider using a replacement strap and foam for the HTC Vive, available online
If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, an alternative option is to use an Android VR phone case and modify it to fit your screen, IMU, and MCU. This approach offers simplicity and often includes IPD adjustment.
To set up the software for your Relativty headset, you’ll need to work with two main components:
- Arduino firmware: Install the Arduino IDE, connect your MCU, and upload the FastIMU Library example sketch specific to Relativty. This step allows the MCU to send IMU readings to SteamVR.
- SteamVR driver: Download the Relativty SteamVR driver from the repository and follow the instructions to install and configure it. Make sure to edit the default.vrsettings file to customize settings for your specific setup.
Once everything is set up correctly, you can start SteamVR and dive into the VR holodeck area. If you encounter any issues during the build process, refer to the troubleshooting steps in the article or seek assistance on Relativty’s Guild on Discord.
Building the Relativty Motherboard
For those interested in a more advanced build, you can consider assembling the Relativty Motherboard. This PCB-based solution features an Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 processor and uses an MPU-6050 as its IMU. However, any processor supporting the ArduinoCore and connected to an MPU-6050/MPU-9250 can be used for Relativty.
The article provides detailed instructions on PCB manufacturing and component assembly. It includes information on obtaining the necessary Gerber files, purchasing components, and positioning them on the PCB. Additionally, it offers alternative instructions for using an Arduino Due connected to an MPU-6050.
Assembling the HMD
To complete your Relativty headset, you’ll need to 3D print the necessary parts and gather the required screws. All the files you need for 3D printing are available in the Relativty_Mechanical_build folder. You can find the recommended strap, foam, and lenses on platforms like Aliexpress.
Remember that Relativty runs on a dual-screen setup with a 120FPS 2K display. However, feel free to equip it with any compatible screen you prefer. Just ensure it meets the required specifications. The article provides suggestions and options for obtaining suitable displays.
Setting Up the Software
To utilize your Relativty headset, you’ll need to install the Relativty Driver for SteamVR. It comes with a configuration file that requires customization to match your hardware setup. This file includes specific settings for the USB HID device, display coordinates, and resolution.
Depending on whether you’re using the Relativty PCB or an alternative board, you’ll need to adjust the configuration file accordingly. The article provides clear instructions on finding and updating the necessary values, ensuring accurate display positioning and resolution.
For those interested in experimental 3D tracking, the article also guides you through the installation and setup of the tracking software. Please note that this feature currently only supports NVIDIA GPUs due to CUDA requirements.
Once everything is set up, you’re ready to start your VR journey with Relativty. Lay the headset on a flat surface with the front panel facing down, plug it in, and let it calibrate automatically. From there, you can dive into the vast library of SteamVR games and experiences.
Don’t forget to share your experiences and connect with the vibrant Relativty community. Enjoy the world of virtual reality that you built yourself!
For more information about NokiaMA Headset Design, visit NokiaMA Headset Design.