Razer Open Source Virtual Reality Headset Dev Kit Priced & Listed

By Published October 24, 2015 at 10:00 am

We've covered virtual reality headsets in the past -- notably, we sat down at length with engineers of the Valve/HTC Vive at PAX Prime -- but the folks at Razer have recently thrown their futuristic VR hats into the ring as well. The "Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystem," or OSVR, has been nearing the end of its development cycle over the past few months. Razer's just announced the $300 "Hacker Development Kit," with which developers can program for VR technology in general. Although the idea of an OSVR "ecosystem" seems to promise that Razer will develop additional VR products, the dev kit (which includes a headset and software) is the only product being offered right now; it is not a dev kit for an existing Razer product, and it's not intended to develop software specifically for Razer products.

If $300 doesn't seem very open-sourcey, it's because that's the price for a fully assembled kit--the OSVR 3D schematic files are available online, for anyone brave enough to try building a VR headset at home. Razer emphasizes the modularity of the device, which will supposedly be easy to upgrade or customize with alternate parts. The company also highlights its relative accuracy, which requires less correction and timewarp compensation to fix distortion than "today's common optics."

The SDK will also be available under the Apache 2.0 License. For any deeper questions about the licensing or what "open source hardware" even means, check out Razer's FAQ or post on their official thread.

If Razer's numbers are any indication, the VR craze isn't over yet (the first batch has already sold out), which is good news for anyone planning to get into development.

- Patrick Lathan.

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