The University of Southern California is well-known for being an innovative school in many respects, including bringing 3D printing into education. The latest news in this field took place last weekend, when the USC launched a library for open source 3D printed virtual projects, a DIY site found under MxRLab.com.
The open DIY site contains the design files for MxRLab project outcomes, such as VR headsets and software projects, including a 3D printed viewer, certain modifications to the Oculus Rift, such as adjustable mod for mounting sensors and eye cup mod to increase FOV of the headset. The files for all the hardware and software packages are available for download for non-profit purposes. But obviously, you do need a 3D printer to get the project going by yourself.
Virtual Reality 3D technology, as cool as it is, is still relatively expensive, which has limited the wider popularity of it. Through the use of DIY and open source, this could change.
Lets look into the projects presented at MxR website:
The VR2GO mobile viewer is part of the MxR suite of low-cost immersive viewers, including the Socket HMD and the FOV2GO. This 3D printed viewer along with the accompanying software package enables the creation of 3D, immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences using just a smart phone. These low-cost, lightweight systems can be used to create portable virtual reality applications for training, education, health and fitness, entertainment and more. Print one and start building your world today!
Socket HMD – Fabricate a do-it-yourself, plug and play,customizable immersive stereo display with a 90º field of view and 1280×800 resolution. We’ll show you how to put it together, from 3D printing the plastic housing to assembling the circuitry. Download our Open Source software to create virtual worlds and experiences for the Socket viewer.
Unofficial Rift to VRPN Server
VRPN transmits rotations and positions from a tracking device across the network so other apps can use it.
Unofficial Sensor Mount Mod
Unofficial snap-on, adjustable mod for mounting sensors to the Oculus Rift.
Unofficial Eye Cup Mod
Customizable, screw-on, unofficial truncated eye cup mod for the Oculus Rift.
Under MXR Code you can find all components to the MxR Unity Package. These are compatible for development with all MxR Projects.
Flexible Action And Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST)
FAAST is middleware to facilitate integration of full-body control with games and VR applications using either OpenNI or the Microsoft Kinect for Windows skeleton tracking software. FAAST includes a custom VRPN server to stream up to four user skeletons over a network, allowing VR applications to read the skeletal joints as trackers using any VRPN client. Additionally, the toolkit can also emulate keyboard input triggered by body posture and specific gestures. This allows the user add custom body-based control mechanisms to existing off-the-shelf games that do not provide official support for depth sensors.
Although these are extremely cool inventions, and must have required high skills and lots of working hours to finish, are VR glasses really something that would sink into a larger audience? Instead of hanging more things on our faces, wouldn’t we rather discard the existing ones (such as glasses with 3D movies)? Lets see what the future brings along.