Open Source Virtual Reality

Razer's OSVR

Razer’s OSVR

I was just surfing the electronic category of VoucherBin. I could see the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is now in full swing and already there are some weird and wonderful gadgets being presented.

One of the most impressive and exciting pieces of news comes from the tech development company “Razer,” which has been demonstrating that after decades of hard work, the technology may finally be good enough for a commercially released Virtual Reality system. The product entitled “OSVR” which stands for “open source virtual reality”. What is exciting about this is that Razer has made it very open to users. Because various markets that would otherwise be heavily invested in this technology have not gotten around to creating products that could be used with virtual reality, Razer have instead made it very easy for people to utilise its technology.

Razer have truly made their product “open source” by making all of the schematics available for viewing online, which is a bold move for a smaller company. Anyone with ready access to optics and good quality electronics can construct their own. If you don’t, then Razer are hoping to ship globally sometime around June 2015 for just $199.

Whether you build it yourself or buy one, the software schematics are also available and Razer have even encouraged people to explore and change them by marketing their own “Hacker development kit” which will allow users to turn the OSVR head gear into a specialised tool. Razer’s intention is to simply release the product as almost a blank slate which people can then use to help them personally. Examples include creating simulators for training purposes, previews of holiday destinations or car garages to help market retail items or creating games that would be compatible with the OSVR.

This shows a refreshingly new ideology towards technology and will pay dividends if it all comes to fruition. Razer state that eventually they want their product to be a primarily game based product, but by getting it out there now and showing how easy it is to use and be implemented into various walks of life, game companies will soon follow hard and fast.

If Razer’s claims are true then we are on the precipice of a revolution. What has for so long been a concept limited to science fiction movies and only been mere speculation in real life is finally happening.

As like all good conventions, the good is often interspersed with the bad. The “bad” in this case is the “Rolkers” a gadget intended to make you walk faster and farther. However, even the most professional photos make the product look like a pair of crude roller skates you have to tie to the sole of your shoe with blue string. It did win the silver medal in the transport category at the 2013 Inventions in Geneva Exhibition but it has not much improved over the year and is still to win the hearts of licensors to allow Rolkers to prepare their product for sale.

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