#114: Yuval Boger on Open Source Virtual Reality

yuval-bogerYuval Boger is the CEO of Sensics and a founding parter for the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) project in collaboration with Razer.

The vision for OSVR is to be able to create a standardized middleware software layer that helps VR developers integrate a wider range of VR peripheral input devices as well as to create a hackable platform that VR hardware developers can add their specific hardware customizations or implement specialized VR algorithms. Having an open source VR HMD is a great vision that has gathered a lot of interest from a variety of different industrial VR manufacturers as well as VR peripheral manufacturers. As the VR ecosystem grows, then I think that there will be an increasing need for something like OSVR.

Boger talks about some of the features of OSVR including:

  • Implications of having open hardware,
  • Difference between OSVR’s abstraction layers for sensors and rendering
  • Negligible latency tradeoffs for using OSVR and the benefits
  • Will OSVR standards limit or encourage innovation?
  • Support for over a dozen different HMD manufacturers and many different input controllers
  • Android mobile integration and using OSVR for the sensor integration for Gear VR and the Oculus SDK for the rendering layer

It feels like OSVR is probably where Linux was probably a year or two after it was first released compared to the other VR HMDs that are on the market. But in the long-run an open source model is something to keep your eye on. You can check out the OSVR Github repos here and their github landing page here: http://osvr.github.io.

It looks like a lot of the software code is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. You can also sign up to download some of the OSVR hardware schematics from their website, which is licensed under the Google’s Project Ara Module Development Kit License because open source hardware licenses are less defined.

One announcement that came out at the IEEE VR conference is that OSVR announced that they’ll be collaborating with 28 leading VR labs at Universities around the country. I’d expect to that OSVR will be a great platform for hardware and software hackers as well as VR academics to have a baseline platform to experiment and innovate.

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