Beautifully Rebuilding A VR Headset To Add AR Features

[PyottDesign] recently wrapped up a personal project to create himself a custom AR/VR headset that could function as an AR (augmented reality) platform, and make it easier to develop new applications in a headset that could do everything he needed. He succeeded wonderfully, and published a video showcase of the finished project.

Getting a headset with the features he wanted wasn’t possible by buying off the shelf, so he accomplished his goals with a skillful custom repackaging of a Quest 2 VR headset, integrating a Stereolabs Zed Mini stereo camera (aimed at mixed reality applications) and an Ultraleap IR 170 hand tracking module. These hardware modules have tons of software support and are not very big, but when sticking something onto a human face, every millimeter and gram counts.

[PyottDesign]’s work reveals quite a few nice build details. He 3D scanned his face in order to create parts with a custom fit and made great use of 3D printing, even dyeing parts as needed. Other structural components were cut from thin carbon fiber inlay sheets, which provided great strength with very little mass.

The end result does require three separate USB cables (one for each of the main hardware components) so a possible improvement would be to integrate some kind of hub, but for now [PyottDesign] is just going to enjoy the fruits of his labors. The video showcasing the end result (embedded below, under the page break) gives a summary of the build process, but if you’d like to delve into aspects of the project in more detail, check out the 10-video series covering everything from concept to finished unit.

Speaking of DIY VR headsets, we recently saw another custom headset build that took a much more ground-up approach, but also serves as a reminder of just how much work goes into building something like this. Like they say, developing hardware is just like software, except every time you hit “compile” it costs money and takes weeks.

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