OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) – Virtual Reality Headset

HMD Name: OSVR Hacker Dev Kit v1.3
Designer: Razer/Sensics
Website: http://www.osvr.org/
Estimated price $299
Display type: OLED
Resolution: 960×1080 per eye
Field of view: 100 degrees
Head tracking: Yes, 100hz IR tracking
Eye Tracking: No (upgrade possible)
Audio: Own headphones, audio codec integrated
Refresh rate: 120hz
Latency: TBA/Unknown
Optics: Custom low distortion lenses, adjustable diopters
Inputs: HDMI
Type: Tethered to computer

OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) is more than just an HMD; it is an attempt by Razer and Sensics to create an open standard for virtual reality. The Razer OSVR Hacker Dev Kit v1.3 – to give it its full name – is a hardware prototype of that standard; one that exemplifies the vision for future products. This means that the overall concept of OSVR as a platform is inherently competing with HTC and Valve Corporation’s joint creation, the SteamVR platform.

The most important aspect of the Razer OSVR headset, and that which makes it notable, is that it was created to be upgraded and modified. Following in the footsteps of open computer standards such as PCIe and ATX chassis design, the OSVR has not only left room for expansion, it was designed around the idea. Some upgrades and modification, such as integration with the Leap Motion 3D mapping sensor, has already been successfully implemented, but most importantly it was designed in order to accept upgrades that no one has conceived of yet. If a new screen technology or motion sensor is developed in the future, it’s entirely possible that an OSVR compatible module to incorporate it will be created.

This Dev Kit comes with a 120hz, 5.5 inch OLED panel, which is specifically designed for virtual reality. According to the manufacturer, there is as little as 13% distortion (versus a 30% baseline) from the lenses, therefore it requires less software compensation and presents a clearer, sharper, more color-accurate image.

The developer kit is a combination of all the modules that make up this HMD, but users may purchase any combination of the currently available modules. Users may wish to 3D print their own case components, substitute their own LCD or OLED panels and so on. It should be noted, however, that purchasing the components as a kit is significantly cheaper than purchasing them separately.

The creators are making it possible for those who have purchased older versions of the developer kit to upgrade their unit with components from the new kit. Upgrades are imminently available, including an increase in the field of view to an almighty 150 degrees. If OSVR becomes the dominant standard in the fledgling world of virtual reality, this may very well be the ‘IBM PC’ of the 21st century.

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