One sixteen year-old, a couple of his friends, and their math teacher have taken on Oculus with an open SDK – and you can build the VR headset for $100.

France’s Maxime Coutté writes up the project, which features his coding alongside optics and code from his best friends and algorithmic assistance from their math teacher (really). And there are a few advantages of their open approach, even if the hardware doesn’t look quite as svelte as commercial options.

1. There’s an open SDK, which for now gets you up and running quickly in Unity Game Engine.

2. There’s an open API for communications between Unity and the VR headset – which also allows low-latency communication between the game engine and Arduino.

3. There’s a headset that’ll run you somewhere around $100, instead of several times that for similar options. And of course you’ll get the fun of building it. And it’s open.

That WRHML creation could be a great option for anyone adding real-time interfaces for Unity, including musical and audiovisual applications. And wow, does this ever beat fighting over the cool table at the cafeteria – Maxime writes:

I started programming when I was 13, thanks to my math teacher. Every Monday and Tuesday, my friends and I used to go to his classroom to learn and practice instead of having a meal at the cafeteria.

WRHML already looks useful, but if you want to build the headset, here you go:
How you can build your own VR headset for $100

You might even get parts for less. The basic ingredients: Arduino DUE, a display, an acceleromter/gyro, and a housing. Part of the cheapness is thanks to sourcing inexpensive displays from China directly (instead of buying a built product with its associated profit margin).

GitHub is your best source:

Via T3n [German only]; h/t Martin Backes.

  • brutedawg

    INB4 Cease and Desist for some random lines of code OR INB4 Multi-$100K buyout to stifle competition.

    • R__W

      nah they already got him

      “I’ve had the incredible fortune to meet amazing people, including the chief architect at Oculus, Atman Binstock. He gave me a precious piece of advice: “open source it”. ”

      ya kid, just open source it. it’ll be great. you can field a lot of angry Q’s from amateur devs who can’t get anything to compile. and make no money in the process. you’re gonna love it

      • “Got him” – got whom?

        It’s a team effort. So far feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. And separately, we may even have an effort together to port this to Unreal for free.

        She’s sixteen and she’s working with her math teacher. Does she need to monetize this and make it proprietary? It’s built for Arduino, which is itself open.

        • R__W

          Sorry, I guess I’m just a bit cynical about open source projects and of Facebook’s intentions.

          Open source is good, but being the maintainer of a popular project can be quite a headache. I would not wish that upon a young person. From a financial perspective, the best time to open source something is after you’ve sold it to Facebook, not when you’re still in high school.

          Also, I don’t think any of the students are “she.”

          • Yeah, but look at the project… it’s basically a screen and an accel/gyro and some code in between. It makes perfect sense for this to be open, especially when it’s built on another open project (Arduino, which means parts of it actually *have* to be open…)

    • Jeez, read the article.

      She went as far as visiting Oculus. And there’s no business case for that anyway – Oculus are in the business of encouraging development of VR games, which this helps do.

  • Yann

    Hello there, just a small glitch in this paper : Maxime is a he, not a she, even if he looks a bit feminine 😉 (no french would give this name to a girl, it is rather a “manly” name, I dont have the correct word in english, but you see the point – for Mme Maxime in Harry Potter, it’s her family name). Anyway, outstanding work from his part and his team !

    • Ga, yes (!!) … and I even know this. Fixed/re-cached.

    • Jean Michel Jarret

      Hello, i am french, i have a wonderfull daughter, we gave her the name Maxime… It is a boy/girl name, lots of people are confuse with.

      • Yann

        French too 😉 Ok – that’s news for me ! But always good to know, thanks for the heads-up.

      • Yeah! Well, continuous correction is what we try to do round here 😀 Thanks, Internet!

      • Francophone here (Québécois-Suisse). Seem to remember meeting some women and girl named «Maxime», but not frequently. Would probably have made the wrong assumption. Among Anglophones, “Maxine” is more commonly a woman’s/girl’s name.
        And while this may all be OT, it’s quite interesting to think about the ramifications. After all, CDM is one of the rare places in the electronic music scene where gender issues are discussed openly and frankly. As a privileged, straight, middle-aged, cisgendered white male, came to synthing from other male-dominated hobbies (like homebrewing and BBQing). Electronic music can be as discouraging in terms of male bias.
        This might be a very specific case. Not even really sure how Maxime identifies, in terms of gender. (There might be cues in the Medium piece but reading Medium isn’t for me.)

  • I sense you are shifting to the right.

    At least in the RSS.


  • baju-baju

    Vacuous Drift (TM)