Friday, June 3, 2016

Project Open Core: Hardware - Oculus Rift

I was planning on posting some of the modifications I am planning with my RAM and CPU Block, but had to catch a plane for work before the RAM arrived, so going with some pictures I already had on hand.

One of the reasons that I decided it was time for a new rig, is that the system I had been using for the last 5 years, just wasn't ready for the VR experience. Although my CPU would theoretically work, my GPUs definitely would not, and I was lacking in USB 3.0 ports.  This wasn't the sole reason that drove the upgrade, but it was a big part of the decision.

I am getting more into Space Flight Sims, and from what I have seen so far, the Rift is going to be amazing for that particular type of game.

Although I ordered within 5 minutes of the commercial launch, my shipment was delayed until late May.  When the Rift finally arrived, I was pretty excited.

The packaging is really well done, with a look and feel of something very high end.  I don't really see myself playing many games while wearing the Rift that would require a gampad, as I play Space Sims with a HOTAS flight controller, but willing to try it out with some other games since it comes with the package.

I have been dabbling in Virtual Reality for a bit now, as I picked up a Gear VR around Christmas to go with my Samsung Galaxy Note 5.  Even for something limited to what phone hardware is capable of, I have really enjoyed playing games and watching movies on the Gear VR.  Even more so, I love letting someone try it for the first time just to get their reactions.  I have only sampled a few titles with the Oculus and the PCs greatly superior hardware, and so far have been very impressed.  Looking forward to see what else comes out over the next year or two.

One thing I had trouble with when setting out the Oculus stuff, was the tracking camera.  I have an adjustable Desk, and the camera kept hitting the bottom of my monitor, and took up too much desk space.  My gaming headset was doing the same, so I set out looking for a solution.  Here is what it looked like before, tracking camera directly below the monitor and the gaming headset to the left.

I had read that the shaft holding the camera had a standard camera tripod thread. So I grabbed an  adjustable hot shoe adapter from my DSLR bag, and picked up a monitor mount for the PlayStation Eye Camera online.

The end result works out pretty well.  The Tracking camera now sits right next to my webcam, doesn't hit my monitor when I change the height of my desk, and uncluttered my desktop a bit.  You will notice in the picture below, the headphones are also gone.

I needed a better place for the gaming headset, and somewhere to stash the Oculus Rift when not in use.  Came across this headphone holder on Amazon, that looked perfect for the job.  Made of a combination of hard plastic and aluminum, it is very solid.  The lips on the end of each arm will also keep the Rift from accidentally sliding off.

It uses a 3M super sticky pad (same that ship with GoPro mounts) to secure to the bottom of my desk.  I tested after placement, and I don't think it will go anywhere without taking a chunk of the desk with it.  As seen below, it hold the gaming headset and Oculus Rift perfectly under the desk. Out of the way, but easily accessible.

I am actually posting this from a plane, on my way back home.  I know via a shipping notification that my RAM and Light Bar upgrade kits have arrived, so the next post will cover some simple mods I plan to make them match the Black / Blue theme of this build.

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