Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) is launching a new head-mounted display development kit with improved optics. Pre-orders will start on Oct. 1 for $300 and the headset is slated to ship later next month.
OSVR is backed by Razer, Leap Motion and a growing list of software and hardware developers attempting to build an open source industry standard head-mounted display. In tandem with the new hardware, OSVR announced a VR content discovery platform to promote experiences compatible with OSVR hardware. OSVR is also supporting Nvidia’s Gameworks VR to improve performance.
The new 1.3 system features a new 120Hz, 5.5 inch OLED display (as opposed to the 60Hz display in the earlier 1.2 system) along with an infrared faceplate and camera to provide positional tracking. It is worth noting, that despite the improved refresh rate the display it will still only output 60 frames per second, according to the company.
It will be interesting to see how OSVR holds up and evolves as Oculus and Valve prepare to enter the market for consumer VR flashing 90 frames per second in front of the eyes. The lower 60 frames per second rate of the OSVR kit is less taxing for graphics cards, so it should make the system easier to run on lower-priced hardware. That said, the extra visual information provided by pushing more frames each second in front of the eyes tends to make a world of difference in creating a sense of presence in a virtual environment.
It is also worth noting both Valve and Oculus are heavy supporters of open source VR development as well, with Oculus open sourcing the schematics of its 1st development kit at Oculus Connect last year and Valve launching OpenVR alongside its SteamVR platform.
The 1.3 kit from OSVR is still very much a development kit for hardware hackers. OSVR eventually plans to offer upgrades for a Leap Motion faceplate and camera for hand tracking as well as Wearality’s ultra-wide 150 degree field of view lenses.