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 PR3 WIP log (Upgraded, wireless PR2) 
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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Hi guys! Sorry for dropping off the grid and not replying to any of you in the other threads. Those of you that are familiar with me will know that I tend to do that all too often. :lol: I will try to finish the backlog of replies tomorrow, thanks for understanding.

Well, this is a thread for the people who wanted to see some basic progress on the PR3 (Prototype 3) HMD, which is going to be the the first "real" version of the concepts I used to build the PR2.

Some of the improvements were listed in my last thread about the PR2 (viewtopic.php?f=120&t=13745)
Quote:
Improvements for the PR3:
Much lighter (~700 grams, only 200 grams heavier than the Emagin Z800)
About 20% smaller, mostly depth wise
Wireless video receiver fanny pack/backpack/belt pack, not decided on final form factor
Lightweight lithium polymer battery pack, runs wirelessly for about 10 hours on a charge
Swappable lens faceplate, lets you move from 120 FOV to 60 FOV in less than a minute, or upgrade to future lens designs


As I move forward, it looks like I might actually be able to get it under 500 grams WITH the high FOV optics! This would put it in the same range as the HMZ-T1. Note that these are all very, very quick pictures, and in no way represent a finished product, or even a finished prototype.

Pictures!

Image
Image
Image
Image

Specs are the same as the PR2 at the moment, other than the improvements. See that big huge backpack control box? Much larger than it needs to be, made it so that I can swap parts in an out very easily, not have to worry about a cooling fan for the time being, and use normal wire interconnects rather than soldering all the HDMI/power connections!

The basic idea: You plug a USB powered DVI/HDMI transmitter into your source computer. You turn on the Wireless Link Pak (Why not give it a silly name?), and the computer automatically recognizes the display. Most of the time, I set it to clone, so that you can see what the user of the HMD is seeing. The HMD actually has no internal electronics, the only things in it are the optics, the display, and the wires that connect it to the driver board over the LVDS interface! Pretty sexy, and very lightweight.

Why is the HMD unit gold, you ask? I wrapped in in shielding tape, as I was having some issues with interference. In keeping with the spirit of a low cost HMD, I did not use custom made shielded cable; I made my own out of twisted pair I stole from ethernet cables! :lol: I shielded that, and then put a nylon fabric sheath over the whole thing so it looked nice, and will not catch on anything. I also ran a long, stiff piece of plus (+) shaped plastic that gives the cable a lot more bend resistance, and makes the cable want to spring up into the air. Because of this, the cable exerts no downward force on the head unit; In fact, it might even lift it up a little bit! No head mount yet, still building them. Right now, I am modifying night vision goggle head mounts, since they have a lot of R&D put into comfort already. Why re-invent the wheel?

Sorry for the long ramble, been up for more than 30 hours without any sleep, hopefully I make some sense. Going to go pass out now, and then answer questions tomorrow.

Thanks for the support! I would never have been able to do any of this without the knowledge and inspiration of the members here.


Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:44 pm
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3D Angel Eyes (Moderator)
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Wow! Really awesome man. When you say 120 degrees FOV, how are you doing that? LEEP? Does the image quality hold up at such a high FOV?

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Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:54 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Ahh, you mentioned Night vision goggle head mounts, I have a bit of wearing experience with night vision goggles and various headmount configurations.

Of all of the headmounts available there is only one that I have found that allows me to wear a PVS-14 and thermal monocular (14oz weight offest to my right eye) for hours without any fatigue or or having the monocular slip down on my eyes. For my PVS-14 I had to use the Wilcox J-arm adapter which is a nice piece of kit, but it's another $180 to the price of the setup, and I'm thinking maybe you can set up your HMD so that it has a very standard night vision interface to clip onto the NVG headmounts?

Unit I'm describing as most comfortable the Litton facemask. NSN 5855-0 Part number A3140690

Photo here:
Image


Unfortunately these are rather expensive $300 plus facemasks, but I do have a spare that I could possibly donate if it proves to be reqired and will work out for you on your project. Just have to find it now :oops:


Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:54 am
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!

Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:45 pm
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I'm thinking instead of using UTP, you can get STP (shielded twisted pair) network cable to replace the LVDS cable. Anyway, great HMD projector. Based on your experience, is it possible to increase the FOV for HMZ-T1 with additional lens that's removable?


Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:15 am
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Petrif-Eyed
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Fantastic! Really stoked to see how all this turns out. You got something in mind already for head/body tracking? A couple days ago, people were brain storming about DIY trackers. Seems that would dovetail nicely with this project.

It seems like a lot of the design effort has gone into turning this into a mobile unit. If I wanted to build this only as a stationary unit, then the design would be a lot simpler and cheaper - true?


Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:35 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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@Cyber: The PR3 has the same lens set as the PR2 in it right now. I am working with aspheric lenses that should be able to give 100+ FOV, but I need more time to look into it. And surprisingly, yes, it does hold up! It surprised me, too, but it is true. I would say it actually looks less grainy than even a VR920, which has a pitiful FOV. And the color reproduction and contrast ratio is so, so much better than most HMDs out there. I certainly wish I could have 720p per eye, sure, but for what it is, I am extremely happy. Remember, the old LEEP units and the MRG2.2 had less than a fifth of the resolution this thing has, and people still liked those!

@InvaderZIM:

Thanks for the suggestions! Yes, I actually was planning on making these NVG mount compatible, so that I can use it with a few NVG mount equpped ACH helmets I have. If you can find your spare, I would definitely love to try it, and would give it back when I figure out if it would be better than what I already have. Heck, if I ended up selling an HMD to you, it would probably come back with the head mount attached! :lol:

@Pierreye: I did try using STP, but I ran across the problem of "skew" in the video signal, because there are varying numbers of twists in each pair. I probably just need to find some STP that does not do this, but it seems like most good STP cables do! Apparently I can fix this by leaving more or less length on each twisted pair, probably at the control box. I will need to experiment quite a bit.

As far as the HMZ-T1 upgrades, we will see. I have access to some lenses that give 100 FOV out of a 0.97" Kopin microdisplay, but using them with the 0.7" Sony panels would not be nearly as impressive. It should be possible to push the FOV to 60 or 70 diagonal, but the Sony optics are probably much nicer, clarity wise. We will have to see, I have a few ideas. Either way, it will not be a removable lens, it would have to be an internal modification. An addon lense for the HMZ is theoretically possible, but it would be a lot of optics to cram in a very small space.

@Brantlew: Look at my other threads I made today, I certainly do have some tracking ideas in mind. ;) As far as home use, though, I am still looking at my options. I might want to try using a Hydra, perhaps on a mount sticking out from the wall that puts it above my head, so I can swivel in my chair to use it?

And yes, there is a lot of work to make this thing mobile. If you want a stationary unit, then something like the PR2 works fine.


Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:30 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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PalmerTech wrote:
You plug a USB powered DVI/HDMI transmitter into your source computer.


I'm not sure to understand what is it. Do you have a link to such a device and explain how it works ? thanks

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Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:55 am
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!
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PalmerTech wrote:
As far as the HMZ-T1 upgrades, we will see. I have access to some lenses that give 100 FOV out of a 0.97" Kopin microdisplay, but using them with the 0.7" Sony panels would not be nearly as impressive. It should be possible to push the FOV to 60 or 70 diagonal, but the Sony optics are probably much nicer, clarity wise. We will have to see, I have a few ideas. Either way, it will not be a removable lens, it would have to be an internal modification. An addon lense for the HMZ is theoretically possible, but it would be a lot of optics to cram in a very small space.


Man, you know what Palmer, if you could come up with an enthusiast optics hack kit for the HMZ-T1, I think you'd roll in some serious potential money. The adoption rate of that tech is going to much higher than normal and you've got a pretty big base to work with. And lets face it, for most gamers who have little if any experience with HMD's, a 70 degree FOV is going to melt their brains.

I really hope you follow up on that one because I'd be all over it (as I'm sure would many others). Love the progress on the PR3 though and would/will gobble it up when you get it there but by the time you get a workable package together Sony will be onto their second or third generation of HMZ. I work in product development/prototyping and man, its a loooooong journey. I think FOV hacks sold in kits would an amazing way to supplement your other developments.

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Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:51 am
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!

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I've decided I will buy an HMZ-T1 and wait to see if Palmer can upgrade it. How much of a discernible improvement would 60 or 70° be from the HMZ-T1's 51° (is the T1 45 or 51°?)? Would it be worth losing some clarity for?

And Palmer, I'll ask you since you're the best (maybe only) person to potentially take on something so crazy - is there the slightest chance you'd be able to apply your expertise to modding three HMZ-T1s together? That is to say, create a custom housing with high-FOV optics for six of the T1 microdisplays, three for each eye, for a 3DVS HMD? That would truly be the *ultimate* HMD.


Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:43 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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It would not be loss of clarity so much as additional distortion/chromatic abberation, I suspect it will be hard to match these new Sony optics, but I will not know till I see them myself.

Stock, the HMZ-T1 is 45 degrees horizontally, and 51.6 degrees diagonally (Diagonal is how we usually measure FOV). I am a FOV nut, so for me, it would be worth it; for other people, personal preference.

And yes, that would be entirely possible, it is basically what Sensics does with their HMDs. There are some issues (Like figuring out how to make sure the image remains in focus when being directly viewed in addition to being viewed in the peripheral), and I am no optics expert. I will definitely attempt it if I get a shot!


Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:03 am
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Sharp Eyed Eagle!

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Hmm, that's encouraging. I may have enough money to do that. I mean, I have enough for three now, but that would be basically all my money. I also want to build a PC. If you could definitely put three together, though, I'd pay you to do it once I got enough money. What would the diagonal FOV be, then? Around 150 degrees, or is it more complicated than just multiplying by three? I wonder how you would test this, though. Perhaps by trying a triple display system with some Kopin 0.97s? It would be great if you could get your company to fund the experiment. We know Somy is manufacturing the OLEDs themselves - is the HMD the place to get them? It would be much cheaper if the displays could be purchased on their own. If this could be done, we would have a truly amazing HMD with high resolution, high FOV, and robust S3D support, for maybe $3000. How much bigger do you think the form factor would be, though? Well, this is very exciting to consider, but the first step is getting the stock model. Then we can see about just a FOV upgrade. Then, just maybe, someone'll go all out and construct a surround HMD!


Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:12 pm
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Yeah, a triple-head HMD would definitely be the way to go. I mean, if you want to design an HMD that works with existing technologies, games and potential game resolutions, that's how you'd do it. I've been running triple-head for years now and find it very difficult to play games (or work) in any other format. My system is further augmented with 3 Fresnel lenses which gives you rough collimation, major visual real-estate increase, as well as killing the monitor bezels. Its a bit like a low-fi version of a Bugeye display http://www.avsim.net/pages/0404/bugeye/ ... eview.html works great though!

Its so frustrating how close we are really. I mean, enthusiast gamers have been using triple-head, Track-IR head and more recently 3D for years now. All of these things are surrogates for true VR. ALL of the technology is there and now that micro-display OLED resolutions are in the 720p range, its only really a matter of time. The bummer in all of this is that the market drives the tech and I still seriously doubt we'll see the HMD we all know could be sitting on our heads right now.

Short of Palmer coming to the rescue that is! lol.

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Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:24 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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I understand the money thing. I could buy the parts too, but like you, it would be way too much of the money I am trying so hard to save. :lol: I will definitely see if I can get my job to float the development costs.

The FOV depends on how well I can merge the 3 displays. It would probably be at least 130 degrees, though! Edge blending software might make my job a lot easier, since I could just throw away a few lines of resolution on the edges of each display instead of trying to align the edges of each screen perfectly.

For testing, I am not sure. Those Kopin 0.97" displays are pretty crazy expensive, it would be a lot more economical to just buy a bunch of HMZ-T1s! I am sure that this HMD is going to be the cheapest way to buy the OLED panels+driver boards. When Sony used to sell the Glasstron, they would sell just the bare module without any casing for engineering work, but it cost exactly the same price as the full retail unit. Besides, I really doubt they would sell these OLED panels to people, they are a huge competitive advantage for them (They are the only company with high definition OLED camera viewfinders right now, for example).

Form factor, no idea until I tear apart an HMZ-T1 to look inside. If they did it the way I like, that processor box handles everything, with just a few wires going to small display modules in the head unit. A few older HMDs of mine do this, notably the SVGA Cy-Visor. If that is the case, then it might even be possible to build the entire surround assembly into the stock shell! If the shell has any kind of sizable PCB on board, though, then it could be significantly larger. Again, no way to know till I see the inside.

Wanna hear REALLY crazy?...

9 screen surround HMD, ala Sensics. :woot


Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:31 pm
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Have you ever used a Sensics Palmertech? I read somewhere that you could see the separation between the screens, not in a major way but noticeable enough.

While on the topic of crazy, have you ever given any thought to a single curved projection back-plate with mini-DLP projectors driving the image using pixel bending software? There's a new generation of mini-DLP coming out with 720p & 1080p. In theory at least, you could build a roughly collimated surface http://www.intergate.be/dg/dg019.jpg in the head mount itself and project onto it. Build active shutters into the optics or use two projectors for passive 3D.

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Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:05 pm
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@Bishop51: I actually have some plans to build a DIY HMD using DLP pico-projectors and a curved screen. It will be a little while til I can afford the projectors, but its on the road map.

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Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:40 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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Yes, I have, quite some time ago. I have been meaning to post a review of it, but the info I have is pretty outdated compared to the newer offerings from Sensics. In my experience, yes, you can see the seams pretty clearly, especially if the HMD is not perfectly centered. Not enough to really bug you (Still better than most 3 monitor setup bezels!), but for the price they want, it is hard to stomach. But like I said, my info is old! They have a new, redesigned optical system that they say reduces the visibility of the seams. For all I know, it is a non-issue by now. Still a hefty price tag for us hobbyists, but definitely worth the cost in the professional market, as there is nothing else out there with the FOV and resolution that Sensics brings to the table.

And yes, I have given that some thought, and actually have hardware available to try it out. My work has some SVGA pico projectors with active shutter optics, so you only need passive glasses, ideal for testing! Not sure it would be all that great, though. One of the biggest reasons to go the HMD route is because you get a sense of distant focus, would be pretty hard to do with a projection plane so close to your face!

@Cyber: Would you be using optics of any kind, or just straight up viewing of the projection screen?


Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:48 pm
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@PalmerTech: I am planning on using fresnels. I did some quick tests, and I think this could allow for high FOV and infinite focus, so the image will look really big. They are also dirt cheap, and are bendable, which I need. Keep in mind the screen will also be curved, so you won't get as much distortion as in the video. The sides will still be blurred, but this is true even in real-life somewhat so that's fine. I've just got side-tracked with the 1200VR, now I am getting a laptop (might order tonight), and I want to have money for the HMZ-T1. So realistically, this DIY HMD isn't happening until next year. But I may do some proof-of-concept tests before then.

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Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:57 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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When using projectors, I think it makes more sense just to go for direct retinal projection. There is a lot of potential there for wide FoV and a large exit pupil without a lot of lenses, or any lenses if you use curved mirrors and beamsplitters. The latter solves chromatic aberration as well.

For lenses, in theory, you can could cancel out at least the horizontal chromatic aberration in hardware by having the red, green, and blue "pixels" offset from each other in the horizontal scanning of the laser. That would require some pretty deep access to the firmware though.


Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:39 pm
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I'm scared my eyes will melt or something. Doesn't seem safe.

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Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:46 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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cybereality wrote:
I'm scared my eyes will melt or something. Doesn't seem safe.

Yea, there is that...

There is a pretty good paper out of the HITlab describing maximum safe power levels. The retinal displays they built used lasers on the order of a half microwatt, as opposed to around a milliwatt that something like the Microvision SHOWWX puts out. It would be necessary to lower the power significantly.

Edit: Apparently the lasers in the SHOWWX are 90, 50, and 60mW.


Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:55 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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I think direct retinal projection would be a lot tricker than projecting onto a screen in front of the user (CyberReality and I obviously have had similar ideas about using micro projectors). The tiny moves of the eye would throw things off IMHO.

They've been working on direct retinal projection for quite some time and its still not consumer ready, so I think its probably unlikely we could easily hack up something to do a decent enough job, safely.


Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:54 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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The issue with retinal projection is the abysmally small exit pupil.
Really to make it viable for a decent FOV display you need some sort of active optics and eye tracking.


Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:45 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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ERP wrote:
The issue with retinal projection is the abysmally small exit pupil.
Really to make it viable for a decent FOV display you need some sort of active optics and eye tracking.

The exit pupil can be as big as you design the optics to let it be.

Edit: Never mind, I see the physics now.


Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:22 pm
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What this community really needs (and excuse me if this has already been discussed) is a structured, open-source HMD project. Identify the most cost effective, realistic, current hardware, some basic wants/needs and start bashing out iterations of a single design. Make everything as "off the shelf" as possible including the mount. There's enough big brains in this community to make that happen.

Palmertech is essentially trying to do this with the PR3 but with something of a potentially commercial nature. That's not to say the two ideas are mutually exclusive. I think that if Palmer provided us with a foundation for the discussion, we could help with R&D. We would just need to structure a development forum for different areas of research.

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Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:47 am
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Yes, that is what the DIY section is for. To work on stuff, prove it works, and post plans and/or instructions.

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Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:03 pm
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I absolutely see the value of the DIY area of the forum but that's not really what I'm talking about. That's more general "anything goes" kind of tinkering with disparate methods and goals. I'm talking about sticking with a small subset of goals and materials and everyone working to actively test and tweak that single system. That way you can iterate on a single design, improving it with each generation. Much the same way as opensource software works expect we'd be doing it with hardware.

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:40 am
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Cross Eyed!

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The problem with these "open source" efforts, is if they are not working from an already working design is that they tend to get derailed by trying to provide perfect solutions rather than just something that works.
This is particularly true where multiple complex parts interact.
I've been watching an "Open Source" CNC Mill thread on another board, it started with aiming at something in the $1-5K range, got derailed in the details, ended up with incomplete plans for something that would cost >$50K to build, because of people obsessing over details and losing sight of the goal. I watched an "Open Source" race car get derailed the same way.
The CNC router community on the other hand iterates on existing working designs and do some interesting things.

I think the problem in this space would be the shear number of initial variables
How big is the display, what is considered a reasonable FOV, what is considered acceptable distortion, does it have to have 100% overlap.
As an aside I'm also not sure anyone on this board has a really solid enough grasp of optics, to do anything but copy existing eyepiece designs.
Then there is the software issue, if we're limited to the existing 3D drivers, there are enough features they don't support to severely limit the design.

I don't think it would be impossible, but my experience is that people become way more tied up in perfect designs than in getting something that works, and I think if there was something to start from there would be a much better chance of success.

I'd suggest starting with an older design like the virtuality headset two ~3inch screens, two mirrors and two ~60mm focal length lens, you could lose the mirrors if you don't mind moving the weight further from the head, and could deal with <100%overlap. Interestingly from what Palmer mentioned in his Wide5 review it's not a million miles from what they are doing.


Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:18 am
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One Eyed Hopeful
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I'd be happy to provide hosting and site technical management for a Wiki if there's any interest in organizing all this HMD knowledge. Would need some mods (Palmer? CyberReality? Maxim?) and others to write/edit articles that meet a similar set of standards that Wikipedia applies.

Just a thought...

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:15 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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ERP wrote:
The problem with these "open source" efforts, is if they are not working from an already working design is that they tend to get derailed by trying to provide perfect solutions rather than just something that works.
This is particularly true where multiple complex parts interact.
I've been watching an "Open Source" CNC Mill thread on another board, it started with aiming at something in the $1-5K range, got derailed in the details, ended up with incomplete plans for something that would cost >$50K to build, because of people obsessing over details and losing sight of the goal. I watched an "Open Source" race car get derailed the same way.
The CNC router community on the other hand iterates on existing working designs and do some interesting things.

I think the problem in this space would be the shear number of initial variables
How big is the display, what is considered a reasonable FOV, what is considered acceptable distortion, does it have to have 100% overlap.
As an aside I'm also not sure anyone on this board has a really solid enough grasp of optics, to do anything but copy existing eyepiece designs.
Then there is the software issue, if we're limited to the existing 3D drivers, there are enough features they don't support to severely limit the design.

I don't think it would be impossible, but my experience is that people become way more tied up in perfect designs than in getting something that works, and I think if there was something to start from there would be a much better chance of success.

I'd suggest starting with an older design like the virtuality headset two ~3inch screens, two mirrors and two ~60mm focal length lens, you could lose the mirrors if you don't mind moving the weight further from the head, and could deal with <100%overlap. Interestingly from what Palmer mentioned in his Wide5 review it's not a million miles from what they are doing.


I think the RepRap 3D printer serves as an example of a reasonably successful "bazaar" open source hardware project that hasn't suffered from the problems you mention. It is little more than a wiki, forums, and an IRC channel, but it has resulted in dozens of 3d printer variations totalling perhaps over 10,000 units.

It is almost entirely a meritocracy. People congregate towards and expand on the hardware and software designs that work. It is just a matter of making those designs and that software open source and being open to accepting modifications and branches.


Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:16 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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ERP wrote:
The problem with these "open source" efforts, is if they are not working from an already working design is that they tend to get derailed by trying to provide perfect solutions rather than just something that works.
It's not specific to open source hardware, this problem concerns any type of project. Software projects often have the same problems, be they open source or proprietary, but it doesn't prevent some of them to attain their goal.

The idea sounds interesting indeed, nothing more than a google project hosting would be needed. And a bunch of interested and focused people too...


Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:03 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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My project might go in a commercial direction, but even if it does, I am going to make all the plans as available as I can. Even if I end up in the HMD business as a job, I will always make my plans available for DIYers! If someone really wanted to copy me, they could always just buy a unit and rip it apart to see how it works anyways. :lol: I will have the results of all my PR3 experimentation posted in a few months, with the pros/cons of each lens assembly I am experimenting with.

Here is the main problem with an open source HMD project: There is very little to research, and even less to develop. The PR2/PR3? They exist because of some amazing twist of chance that provided a high pixel density panel that is EXACTLY the correct size for a single panel HMD. If it had been 5mm wider or narrower, the performance would be severely impacted. I wish that there were other lucky finds like that out there, but in all the research I have done, I do not think they exist!

I mean, yes, a design like the older Virtuality HMDs would be ideal (Small screens, mirror, and simple optics), but where are we going to get those small displays? The market for high definition displays has been trending towards screens that are at least 4.3" diagonal, and those are all driven by cellphones. What we would need is a high definition panel, less than 3" diagonal, that can be driven with a standard video signal. Thus far, there is nothing like this in the sub-$3000 range, and there are no short term mass market applications that will drive the price down. Even in that case, if we use mirrors, we need drivers that support horizontal flip. IZ3D supported that, sure... But they are looking to be dead. :( As we move towards standards like HDMI 1.4, we are going to see LESS flexibility in 3D drivers, not more.

And that leads to software. The best thing that could happen to the DIY HMD scene right now would be a brand new 3D driver with lots of output options. The biggest one? Adjustable binocular overlap! Right now, 3D drivers only output 100% overlap imagery. If we could get around that, then we are a heck of a lot closer! I have some 3.2" 800x480 IPS LCDs that are driven via HDMI, and they would be perfect for a wide FOV HMD with about 80% binocular overlap.

In summary, an open source effort might be too early at this point, we do not have the hardware available. It would be like starting that open source race car project back when the only engine available was a $200,000, 1000lb steam engine, or that CNC mill project when the most advanced cutting tool available is a flint knife. It just has nowhere to go. If someone can find a sub-3" display with SVGA or higher resolution, then this whole game changes, but until then, we are just stuck waiting around, or using something like the PR3.

I know, pretty cynical, but that is my honest assessment.

(On a sidenote, an HMD wiki might not be a bad idea. I could also provide hosting, I have a Hostgator reseller account, and I have a console modification wiki from the main site I run that could be adapter very easily)


Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:18 pm
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A question that comes to mind with your above comments Palmertech (and I mean this purely from an open conversation perspective), is whether your time investment in the PR-HMD's and research might be coloring your ability to see other potential pathways for the hardware (and or what's viable). You are set on your PR3 design (as you should be) but that does not mean it's the only viable way to build an HMD with a wide FOV and high resolution.

When it comes to software, in many ways I think you've got it backwards. If you're trying to build an HMD with commercial viability you should be designing hardware that plays nice with popularly supported software standards. Much in the same way that Sony's HMZ-T1 works with Nvidia 3D drivers. From that perspective, the hardware has to reflect what is technically achievable with commercially available driver sets and supported games. In other words, you're going for the highest common denominator here and figuring out what form factor follows.

I suppose that in many ways tells us that perhaps the HMZ-T1 is the only real viable option right now in terms of cost, hardware and compatibility but I know and you know that Sony isn't pushing the hardware as far as they could. They could easily go for a 6 panel display (3 per eye) wide field optics and head tracking. In fact, that unit is sooooo close to the mark that its incredibly annoying that they didn't go the extra mile there.

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:35 pm
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If I really were focusing on the PR3, then yes, it might be coloring my reasoning. The thing is, though, I am terrible at focus. :lol: The PR2/3 actually got finished, but I have several other projects going that I would be glad to post. One of them relies on Kopin microdisplays (47 degree FOV), the other relies on SVGA LCOS panels (35 FOV), and another relies on high magnification beamsplitters paired with the aforementioned 3.2" displays! I am also working on a project that uses two of the panels used in the PR3 to create a 120 FOV, 720p per eye HMD. Problem is, it is ending up far too large, so it might have to be a boom mounted display. On top of all those, my personal projects, I am also working on a few HMD concepts at my work! I won't talk about them, except to say that the cost of building those units is in the $$,$$$ range.

And yes, that is certainly the way to go about real commercial success. Problem is, working with those standards takes quite a bit of money! :( First you need to design a control board for the panels that can turn HDMI 1.4 into distinct outputs, and then you need to get HDCP, HDMI, and possibly Nvidia 3D Vision licensing. Going that route would mean starting a legitimate company, looking for venture capital, and taking a huge leap of faith. Granted, I would love to do that... But I think I would have a way better shot in 5 years. And besides, that is getting way out of the realm of DIY.

Like I said, if anybody knows of a sub-3" panel with decent resolution, then we are all set for making awesome HMDs. As a DIY community, we need either new developments in displays that let us use existing drivers, or new developments in drivers that let us use existing displays. :( One avenue that I have not experimented with much is projection based HMDs, those could possiby be a viable solution. But again, there are no drivers that would support them other than IZ3D, which is dead.

Sorry for rambling on and on, guys, I am running on very little sleep. :lol:


Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:07 pm
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@ Bishop
No way could sony make a 6 oled hmd. They are taking a risk with the hmz, if they made what you are talking about, it would cost at least $2000. At $800, it is for vr geeks, home theatre geeks, and an impulse buy for rich people. At 6 oled, $2000+, it is for rich vr geeks, no use for home theatre, and no longer an impulse buy for generic rich people. Even if they did build it, I don't think it would be much good. It would have super wide horizontal, but that would highlight the limited vertical fov. It would be like looking through a slit in a riot shield.

I sometimes think that people on these boards have a slightly warped view of what things cost. At least in the UK, $800 is more than what most people spend on a tv for the whole family, never mind a hmd for one person. A 32" lcd is a common choice, which is about $400 over here....

@Palmertech
"Even if I end up in the HMD business as a job, I will always make my plans available for DIYers!"
I have a beer here for you, but I can't figure out to attach it to this message. I will drink it for you, I promise to enjoy it :)


Why is iz3d dead? As long as they don't pull the same trick as some other company that I won't mention and deliberatly remove support, I don't see how they can be dead. Stopped improving perhaps, but even with all it's glitchs and crashes I still think it is ok. Even if it never really gets any better, as long as they keep it working with the next version of windows/directx, and don't start going backwards, it is good. Or have I missed something?


Slightly off topic, but I find lack of sleep can sometimes be good.
I can program a little, but I'm not great at it. Lack of sleep significantly improves my programming ability. I don't really know how to describe it, its like when I'm too tired to think, the little bit of my brain that understands coding has direct control of my fingers, I spew out a big pile of code, that is glitchy but mostly works. Of course the problem with that is when I'm less tired, I can't understand what I typed so I cant fix the bugs!

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:12 pm
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bobv5 wrote:
Why is iz3d dead? As long as they don't pull the same trick as some other company that I won't mention and deliberatly remove support, I don't see how they can be dead. Stopped improving perhaps, but even with all it's glitchs and crashes I still think it is ok. Even if it never really gets any better, as long as they keep it working with the next version of windows/directx, and don't start going backwards, it is good. Or have I missed something?


Ignoring any additional information I might have, let us examine the public information on IZ3D we have:

1) No posts by their own staff on their forums, multiple people there who need license activations are not getting them.
2) Last driver release is a beta from early June with many notable bugs, unfixed for months with no estimated date of completion.
3) Vague early August blog post on their website that says they are switching business direction, whatever that means. No updates since.
4) Cancellation of their new display, then their new universal shutterglasses that were supposed to replace it.
5) No new devices licensing the IZ3D driver in the past year.
6) Not even selling replacement glasses for the IZ3D monitor anymore.
7) Ignoring all messages via email, PM, and Facebook

Considering the implications of all that freely available info, it seems unlikely that IZ3D is in a position to improve their driver. For all we know, the next version of DirectX or Windows breaks it (Like DX10 and 64bit initially did), and that is the end.


Wed Oct 05, 2011 4:53 pm
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PalmerTech wrote:
What we would need is a high definition panel, less than 3" diagonal, that can be driven with a standard video signal. Thus far, there is nothing like this in the sub-$3000 range, and there are no short term mass market applications that will drive the price down.
You can find 3" diagonal displays with reasonable resolutions in cameras, if 3" is too big I guess lower size displays could also be found. For example the Nikon Coolpix P7000 incorporates a 3" TFT display of 921,000 dots (most certainly 1280x720) and it can be found for $299 online. Also maybe a design for 3,5" displays can be created considering this size is used in some cell phones (iPhones for example). After all one of the first HMD (VIVED in 1985) was based on commodity hardware like this, using Watchman TVs from Sony at the time.

PalmerTech wrote:
The best thing that could happen to the DIY HMD scene right now would be a brand new 3D driver with lots of output options. The biggest one? Adjustable binocular overlap! Right now, 3D drivers only output 100% overlap imagery.
What do you mean by overlap exactly ? I don't really visualize how it would work.

Also I think an open source stereo 3D driver is something feasible, even if it's not an easy thing to implement. With some skilled and motivated developers I'm pretty sure a working proof of concept could be implemented quite rapidely.

PalmerTech wrote:
In summary, an open source effort might be too early at this point, we do not have the hardware available. [...] (On a sidenote, an HMD wiki might not be a bad idea.
Yes, I also do think that a Wiki summarizing all the ideas and constraints evoqued here could be quite useful. Even if only to tell what is not possible at this time or what type of hardware would be needed in the future.


Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:20 pm
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@Palmertech
Fair enough. I didn't know any of that.

I read that the new direct x is heading towards including stereo vision. This would make 3d drivers un nescescary. I'm going away to sweep up the dreams you stomped :|

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:38 pm
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Well, for what its worth, I hope to have my own 3D driver available at some point. The main idea would be to support unorthodox devices (displays, controllers, etc.) that other companies have abandoned or don't see as viable. So, yes, you will be able to adjust the stereo overlap and all things like that. I don't want to hype it up too much, since I am a busy guy, but this is going to be a focus of mine for the upcoming months. Realistically I want to have something ready in early 2012.

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Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:40 pm
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I tend to agree the big issue is the panels.

I'd suggest the place to start would be with iPhone panels the old 3G panels are dirt cheap, and the retina display will start to turn up in quantity. They are not an ideal form factor, but there are several ways they could be configured to work. The issue is how to drive them?
Wifi is doable, but even ignoring the weight issue I hate the concept of having to have 2 entire Ipods in the display.
What we really need is a way to drive them with a VGA or similar signal, and that's likely not simple.

I'd stay away from the driver issue initially, personally I'm more interested in demonstrating what's viable, then solving the more general problem of playing existing games on it.
I think you'd find many games would be virtually impossible to play on a 100+ degree FOV display because of HUD layout issues among other things. You'd really want to tailor experiences to the device.
I think simple demo software would validate it's existence, at least for me. Hey if you could make it cheap enough and people actually built them, convincing a Tridef or an iZ3d to add support may end up being viable.

If not I suspect adding a post pass to existing drivers to allow image shifting/masking and flipping wouldn't be insurmountable.

I've played with pico projectors and as is they don't lend themselves to usable configurations, some of this is correctable with more/different optics, but I'm not sure how viable this ends up being.


Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:55 pm
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Quote:
What do you mean by overlap exactly ? I don't really visualize how it would work.


All existing drivers assume that the left eye and right eye fields of view overlap 100%.
If you place two reasonably sized displays in front of the eyes with optics, you will need for this not to be the case or you will simply not be able to converge the images.
Think of it as adjusting the images to account for accommodation rather than adding a prism to each eye.


Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:02 pm
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