Open Source Virtual Reality: What is it and how can you get involved?

Welcome to the world of virtual reality (VR)! The Open Source Virtual Reality platform was created to ensure that consumers and developers can collaborate and participate in the expansion and development of VR. The unique thing about open source software is that anyone can modify it to enable VR headsets and input devices (joy sticks, keyboards, steering wheels etc.) from all vendors to be used with any games. For those interested in creating their own VR games, OSVR is often used in online communities like Steam and Vireio Perception that serve as platforms for gamers and creators to create and share video games, as well as interact in forums.

The cool thing about creating games with open source software is that you don’t need to worry about customizing the game so that it is compatible with specific brands of input devices and VR headsets. As long as the hardware is compatible with open source software the game can be played with that hardware.

OSVR has its own VR headset product called the Razor that is made of open source hardware. Open source hardware has blueprints that are open to the public and easy to recreate. So if you’re the type of person who loves to tinker with your toys you can swap out parts of your Razor headset with other parts from other brands. Want a display with higher resolution, buy another display and swap it in. You can even use 3D printed parts with the Razor! If you are looking for a virtual reality headset that is on the more budget friendly-side, you can try DIY VR headset kits. Patrick Buckley Founder and Chief of DODOcase has created a very affordable cardboard kit that allows consumers to create their own virtual reality headset with their phones. Due to projects like OSVR, VR is becoming more accessible to everyone. Who knows – maybe someday soon, creating a virtual reality game will be as turnkey as creating your own website.

References
Intel Retail Edge. (2015, March 30). Check out razor’s open source virtual reality software [Video
file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFhmpwHwGps

Singh, M. (2014, November 19). DIY virtual reality open source future [Video file]. Retrieved
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuw0pLw3Z0s

CNET. (2015, January 6). Razer osvr a hackable vr headset [Video file]. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfrmdtlHKd8

Red Hat, Inc. (n.d.). What is open source? Retrieved November 4, 2016, from opensource.com
website: https://opensource.com/resources/what-open-source

By Taylor Smith