Aug 03

Current project: Trinus Gyre, transforming your Android into an Oculus Rift

I’ve recently been working in a project that got me quite excited, and I think it is time to share a bit 🙂
I’ve been fooling around with the idea for quite a long time now, and on and off was trying to find the right mixture of software and hardware from different sources.
The idea, yes, well, basically: I wanted a setup for playing VR games, something like Oculus Rift or the likes but on the cheap/DIY.
The thing is, it is not hard to realize that most of the hardware for such a head mounted display is already available on a modern smartphone. The main issue is putting the software together to get it working. A bit more than a year ago I got an OpenDive, a headset carcass for your phone. I played a bit with it, tried different tech demos for it, combined with video streaming apps like Kainy but that’s about it… I didn’t get anything really worth using so I dropped the project.
Until recently. After I heard about the Google Cardboard project I thought a bit more about it, searched again for cool options but couldn’t find a proper solution, that is, a mixture that would let me play PC games immersing through a head tracking, 3D display headset. Again, nothing properly working… you would thing somebody would have made something about it (maybe they have and I didn’t google hard enough). Point in case, I decided to go ahead and build the software to be able to use my phone as a 3D display and head tracking device that I could mount on the OpenDive.
And I have something quite promising at this point, I mean the game choices are a bit limited (some have head tracking support, some have 3D view support, and a few have both), and there is room for improvement to make it more compatible and reliable, but here you can see what I have managed so far:

If you would be interested in trying yourself, head to this page for instructions and download links, hopefully you can bring me some feedback and maybe find other games that can work with it.
Here’s the list of requirements to get up and running:
– My video server and Android app
– Opentrack (it might work with FacetrackNoIR too, but I stopped using it because of the mapping limitations for the yaw/pitch/roll angles)
– Some 3D game with Freetrack support (FlightGear and Simconnect should do too). Arma 2, Condor gliding simulator and Rise of Flight worked for me. Also used Grid and Dear Esther for testing (no head tracking support though)
– Of course, you will need a headset holder for your phone. You can make your own, buy a Google Cardboard (plenty of places online) or a Durovis Dive
– Optionally, you can use TriDef (doesn’t work very well atm, because of the fullscreen requirement) or Vireio perception (I liked that one, it is a work in progress but it is free) for stereoscopic view

On the hardware side, you need a PC, an Android device and a network connecting them both.