Leading Universities Worldwide Join OSVR

LEADING UNIVERSITIES WORLDWIDE JOIN OSVR

Open Source Virtual Reality hardware dev kits to be given to more than 20 higher education labs and research facilities

SAN FRANCISCO – Organizers of the Open Source Virtual Reality, a software platform designed to set an open standard for virtual reality input devices, today announced more than 20 research institutions are joining the OSVR development community as part of the OSVR™ Academia program.

The OSVR Academia program provides hardware development kits (HDKs) and related support to partnering universities and their research labs.

“The technologies that drive virtual reality are changing quickly, and a standardized platform like OSVR enables technology to adapt to that shift more quickly than ever before,” says Aaron Westre from the Virtual Reality Design Lab at the University of Minnesota. “We need to integrate new hardware devices and software techniques as soon as they’re available. The modular architecture of OSVR offers us an efficient platform to increase our agility and invent new VR experiences for users.”

OSVR includes an open-source hardware design and software framework. The HDK provides a high-fidelity, wide visual field and onboard video processing in an expandable, hackable form factor. The software provides a standardized way to discover, configure and operate a multitude of VR devices, as well as to add smart processing functions such as gesture engines, SLAM algorithms and more.

Both the hardware designs and software are now available to be downloaded at no-charge at www.OSVR.com.

“The inability to alter software to serve the research objectives of higher education is a roadblock that we’re now able to overcome,” says Nir Keren, Associate Professor at the Virtual Reality Application Center at Iowa State University. “OSVR empowers researchers, game designers and software developers to chart the landscape of virtual reality, gaming, and visualization in the most effective manner.”

OSVR is also currently being exhibited at the IEEE VR conference in Arles, France. OSVR HDKs are on display at the Sensics/Razer booth there. OSVR is also being showcased in the “VR middleware” technical session and will be discussed in “The Resurgence of Open-Source Frameworks for VR” panel.

“OSVR is an important piece of the emerging consumer VR ecosystem,” says Eric Hodgson, Director, Smale Interactive Visualization Center at Miami University. “The ability to make so many devices and software interfaces standardized, interoperable, compatible, and interchangeable has the potential to change the way people interact with their hardware and software.”

Additional universities are still being added to the OSVR Academia program. Applications are being accepted at www.osvr.com/join.html.

List of Universities:
Cracow University of Technology, Poland
Desert Research Institute, USA
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Iowa State University, USA
Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Italy
Johns Hopkins University, USA
Nara Institute of Science and Technology, USA
North Dakota State University, USA
Ohio University, USA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Ryerson University, Canada
The Art Institute of Vancouver, Canada
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
University College London, UK
University of California, Berkeley, USA
University of California, Riverside, USA
University of California, San Diego, USA
University of Central Florida, USA
University of Minnesota, USA
University of New Mexico, USA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
University of Portsmouth, UK
University of Texas at Dallas, USA
Vienna University of Technology, Austria
Virginia Tech, USA
Wichita State University, USA
York University, Canada, USA

About OSVR:
OSVR™ is a software platform designed to set an open standard for virtual reality input devices, games and output to provide the best possible VR game experience. Supported by industry leaders, the OSVR framework unites developers and gamers alike under a single platform.

For the full list of OSVR supporters and more information, go to www.osvr.com.

 

Images (HDK):
Black Background:
http://www2.razerzone.com/resource/downloads/resc/Rzr_OSVR/Rzr_OSVR_BlackBG.zip

White Background:
http://www2.razerzone.com/resource/downloads/resc/Rzr_OSVR/Rzr_OSVR_WhiteBG.zip

Transparent Background:
http://www2.razerzone.com/resource/downloads/resc/Rzr_OSVR/Rzr_OSVR_PNG.zip

Video:
http://youtu.be/dxeQVBwyh8Y 

Like OSVR on FB: https://www.facebook.com/OpenSourceVR

Follow OSVR on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OpenSource_VR

 

Press Contacts:
OSVR
press@osvr.org

###

 

OSVR hacker dev kit to include motion control with embedded leap motion technology

The optional OSVR faceplate with Leap Motion will be the first input technology to be offered for the platform
SAN FRANCISCO – Leap Motion and OSVR today announced that the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit will have an optional faceplate with Leap Motion’s hardware and software embedded, making the HDK the first-to-market virtual reality headset with natural motion control technology integrated into the head mounted display. By merging the speed and accuracy of Leap Motion’s hand tracking with the growing OSVR ecosystem, users will be able to create and interact with a wide range of supported content.

“By letting the user connect directly with the VR environment, hand tracking allows virtual reality to be as natural and intuitive as interacting with the real world, giving the user a powerful sense of presence and immersion,” said Michael Buckwald, CEO and Co-founder of Leap Motion. “We’re pleased to partner with OSVR to bring our technology to the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, helping developers enable the true potential of VR.”

3D Output Meets 3D Input

The OSVR faceplate with Leap Motion will include the embedded Leap Motion hardware and the OSVR motion plugin software. Integrating natural, controller-free motion tracking with a virtual reality headset marks an industry milestone. The OSVR partnership is the first in a future lineup of head mounted displays that will feature Leap Motion’s technology built in.

The importance of embedding motion control technology is twofold: developers can write code for a single platform that works across multiple hardware devices, and consumers get a consistently smooth experience. The integrated OSVR motion plugin enables support for multiple motion device types, in addition to Leap Motion.

Open and Extensible

Leap Motion developers will be able to easily extend their existing Leap Motion VR applications into the OSVR framework. New developers that want to incorporate fundamental 3D motion input can count on a standard set of functions, such as six-degrees of freedom inputs (move in X, rotate around Y), and write experiences that are device agnostic. Leading game engines such as Unity and Unreal will be supported.

Developers can also utilize the OSVR Imager Interface which provides access to the Leap Motion Image API. Developers can include video pass-through for other applications, opening up a wide range of possibilities for computer vision apps.

“OSVR brings game developers, gamers and hardware manufacturers together to solve challenges and make VR gaming a reality for the masses. The highly modular OSVR Hacker Dev Kit plays a crucial part in that equation, allowing any kind of technology to be easily added to the HDK.” said Christopher Mitchell, OSVR. “The Leap Motion faceplate is a great example of how immersive natural interactions in VR can be brought to developers and gamers alike.”

Product Availability

Developers worldwide can pre-order the HDK and the OSVR faceplate with Leap Motion through the OSVR web store in May; shipping will begin in June. Announced at CES 2015, OSVR is in the early stages of development. The OSVR platform supports a broad range of input devices, though Leap Motion will be the first motion-tracking technology to be integrated into the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit to provide hand tracking for a truly compelling and intuitive VR experience.

This opens up exciting possibilities for Leap Motion’s growing developer community, which includes over 160,000 developers in more than 186 countries. Following the 2014 launch of Leap Motion’s V2 tracking software, capable of tracking individual joints and accounting for finger occlusion, the company continues to release significant software updates bimonthly. Developers can visit developer.leapmotion.com to ensure they have the latest build.

About Leap Motion

Leap Motion™ is a software and hardware company developing the world’s most powerful 3D motion-sensing technology. The proprietary technology, invented by co-founder David Holz, can track the in-air movement of both hands and all 10 fingers with incredible accuracy and no visible latency. The platform supports PC and virtual reality-based experiences. David Holz and Michael Buckwald founded the company in 2010.

About OSVR

OSVR™ is an ecosystem designed from the ground up to set an open standard for Virtual Reality input devices, games and output with the sole goal of providing the best possible game experience in the Virtual Reality space. Supported by Industry Leaders and focused on gaming, the OSVR framework rallies gamers worldwide together to push the boundaries of VR-Gaming.

Press Contacts

Eva Babiak
Leap Motion
eva@leapmotion.com

Christopher Mitchell
OSVR
contact@osvr.com

For OSVR OEMs interested in embedding Leap Motion’s technology, please contact Ted Theocheung (Ted@leapmotion.com).

Improved Unity plugin (v92), new Unreal and Vuzix plugins

We wanted to briefly update you on several OSVR improvements: an improved Unity plugin, a new plugin for Unreal Engine and a new plugin for Vuzix HMDs.

Improved Unity plugin

Version 92 of the Unity plugin adds several new improvements:

  • Compatibility with Unity 5
  • Added distortion correction shader that uses parameters from the display JSON descriptor (discovered through the distortionizer tool)
  • Support for wide-field HMDs with partial binocular overlap such as the Sensics dSight and VRUnion Claire
  • Performance improvements
  • Added NEWS.md file to summarize recent changes

We also updated the whitepaper describing how to convert Oculus Unity projects to OSVR Unity projects. It can be found at http://osvr.github.io/

New Unreal Engine plugin

The Unreal Engine plugin is now public on Github. Please visit http://osvr.github.io/build-with/ or https://github.com/OSVR/OSVR-Unreal

New plugin for Vuzix HMDs

This new plugin supports Wrap1200 and iWear 720 HMDs. Find the source code here https://github.com/OSVR/OSVR-Vuzix or download the latest build here: http://osvr.github.io/using/

This plugin enables OSVR applications to run on Vuzix products. We are continuing to add support for additional vendors.

These latest updates also include contribution from the OSVR community. Interested in contributing? Start here: http://osvr.github.io/contributing/

Any questions or issues? email support@osvr.com

A brief overview of the OSVR software repositories

The OSVR team opened up most of the source code repositories to the public this weekend, and a few additional repositories will be opened in the coming days.  Many have asked us for a brief overview of the project.

The best place to start is osvr.github.io. If you haven’t read the ‘introduction to OSVR whitepaper‘ you might want to do so.

There are several github projects under the /osvr organization. They are as follows:

Key projects:

  • OSVR-Core : this is the heart of the project. The OSVR_server executable connects the game to the OSVR hardware and software components.

Utilities:

  • OSVR-Tracker-Viewer is a utility that graphically shows the position and orientation of the head and hand controllers. It is also an OSVR client, and thus an example on how to connect to and extract data from the server
  • Distortionizer: a utility to estimate distortion correction parameters for various HMDs and a shader to implement the parameters estimated by the Distortionizer. OSVR has JSON descriptor files for HMDs (and many other objects) and the distortion parameters are part of that JSON file

Game engine plugins:

  • OSVR-Unity includes a prefab component that can be imported into Unity.
  • OSVR-Unreal (to be released later this week) is an Unreal Engine plugin

Development tools:

  • OSVR-Boxstarter is a Boxstarter install that helps quickly set up a development environment on a Windows machine
  • OSVR-JSON-Editor is the source code for a tool (deployed version here) that helps create and edit the JSON descriptor files
  • OSVR-JSON-Schemas is a repository for such JSON files

Plugins:

  • OSVR-Oculus-Rift provides a plugin that allows using the position and orientation data of an Oculus device inside OSVR.
  • OSVR-Vuzix (to be released later this week) does the same for Vuzix headsets
Additional projects are coming. There is also a wiki page. Issues are currently tracked as part of the Github pages of the projects and we are looking to add an open-source project management tool.
OSVR (licensed under Apache 2.0 license) aims to create a multi-platform framework to detect, configure and operate a wide range of VR devices as well as to allow smart plugins that turn data into useful information. This is a big undertaking and there is a lot more work to be done to fulfill that vision, so we are looking for all the help we can get. We are super encouraged by the support and feedback we are getting from developers all over the world that believe in the open-source concept, and want to make their contributions towards moving VR forward.
Let us know what you think. What’s missing, what your priorities are and how we can get you involved. Welcome to OSVR.

OSVR now open to the pubilc on Github

The OSVR project is now open to the public. All key software projects are now available and a few minor ones will be added in the next couple of days.

The best place to start is http://osvr.github.io/

Please also make sure to visit the Wiki, support portal, development blog and other OSVR sites available from the top right menu in http://osvr.github.io/

We look forward to working with the OSVR community to make OSVR better with every passing day.

Welcome!

Ubisoft and Five More HMD Developers Join The OSVR Movement

UBISOFT AND FIVE MORE HMD DEVELOPERS JOIN THE OSVR MOVEMENT

Over 50 partners now support Open Source Virtual Reality initiative; new version of the Hacker Development Kit announced


 

SAN FRANCISCO (GDC 2015) – OSVR today announced new partners and an updated Hacker Development Kit (HDK) design for the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) platform. Leading interactive entertainment company Ubisoft®, as well as five new HMD Manufacturers, including Vuzix and Technical Illusions, will be supporting the OSVR movement.

Moving forward, the OSVR software platform is available as an open-source via the OSVR website. This includes newly developed plugins like Unreal Engine 4, a distortionizer tool to provide support for the 11 currently supported brands of head-mounted displays, and an imager interface to allow for new technology modules like augmented reality, positional tracking or eye tracking.

The OSVR Hacker Development Kit v1.1 comes with an all-new full-HD OLED display for higher contrast and lower latency due to faster pixel-switching compared to the previous IPS panel, as well as improved mechanics and increased comfort. The HDK also includes a selection of faceplates with modules that can better enable augmented reality, natural interaction, positional tracking and more. Full designs and drawings for the HDK v1.1 are publically available for download from the OSVR website and will be available to ship from June 2015.

“Since our announcement at CES less than two months ago, OSVR has propelled into a program that some of the world’s leading companies are joining,” says Min-Liang Tan, CEO of Razer and founding member of OSVR. “It’s the combined efforts of the partners that drive the entire VR industry toward a consumer-ready device that’s more immersive, upgradeable, inclusive and affordable than ever before.”

Gael Seydoux, new business development director at Ubisoft says: “The Open Source Virtual Reality framework has the potential to push the boundaries of virtual reality gaming. Our teams at Ubisoft are known for pioneering game development using the latest technologies, so we’re looking forward to demonstrating what we can do by working with Razer and Sensics, building on the OSVR platform.”

Razer will showcase OSVR with supporting members of the platform at GDC in the South Hall, Booth 602. The demos will show a variety of games and input devices supported by OSVR, including developments from LeapMotion, NodLabs, Sixense, Untold Games and Tammeka Games.

“Through intensive collaboration with the OSVR ecosystem, we are rapidly adding capabilities to both the OSVR hardware and the OSVR software platforms,” says Yuval Boger, CEO of Sensics and founding member of OSVR. “With every passing day, we are coming closer to our goal of providing an open platform that makes it easy to create interactive, engaging content and games across a wide variety of devices and operating systems.”

New OSVR Supporters:
Aesthetic Interactive is a one-man software development company, specializing in projects that require a high degree of creativity, design, and user experience.

ARCortex provides technological guidance, proof of concept, and system architecture design for the augmented reality market and promotes the industry by developing and licensing core technology.

castAR provides a 3D, holographic experience to your table, wall or other objects. The device also allows users to move around naturally so they can work or play together while sharing a Mixed Reality experience that blends a virtual world into the real world.

GODHEAD VR is a hybrid software and electronics company based in the Silicon Valley that promotes is best known for its upcoming head-mounted display, “NEO,” designed to be the most modular and upgradable commercial HMD on the market.

Homido is a virtual reality headset for smartphones. Homido is committed to offering the best possible mobile VR experience to the masses.

Hydra Interactive Entertainment is a young indie development studio based in Madrid, Spain. Hydra is focusing on creating unique, innovative and high quality multi-platform titles.

Littlstar is an immersive platform and community for VR and mobile 360° content. Create, share, and interact with your friends in 360°, build VR and cardboard apps with our API, and connect with the world’s largest brands and top producers. The World Revolves Around You™

Mindfield Games Ltd. is an independent Finnish developer that focuses on virtual reality games. Their first title, Pollen is in production and will be released in 2015.

Seebright, Inc. has unveiled the Seebright Wave™ head-mounted display (HMD) system with a unique optical design supporting a new generation of augmented and virtual reality applications on iOS & Android smart-phones.

Seven Hills Games is an independent studio dedicated to creating new ways to play games, learn, tell stories, and visualize data.

Stompz is a wireless, wearable input controller that lets users run naturally and comfortably in virtual reality settings. Stompz enables 360 degree movement in VR while seated, standing or with fitness equipment for highly immersive, low-intensity, locomotion.

Ubisoft is a leading creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, with a rich portfolio of world-renowned brands, including Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s video game series, Rayman, Far Cry and Watch Dogs. The teams throughout Ubisoft’s worldwide network of studios and business offices are committed to delivering original and memorable gaming experiences across all popular platforms, including consoles, mobile phones, tablets and PCs.

Vuzix is a leading supplier of Video Eyewear and Smart Glasses products in the consumer, commercial and entertainment markets. The Company’s products include personal display and wearable computing devices that offer users a portable high quality viewing experience, provide solutions for mobility, wearable displays and virtual and augmented reality.

Updates to OSVR Platform:
The following upgrades have been made to the OSVR software platform that is currently in Alpha stage:

  • Unreal Engine 4 Plugin
  • Imager interface to allow video streams such as those from color cameras, IR cameras, and depth sensors to be allow functions such as positional tracking, eye tracking, SLAM, face recognition and augmented reality
  • Distortionizer tool that allows estimating the optical and chromatic distortion of HMDs and a shader that uses the measured parameters to correct such distortion
  • Performance improvements

As announced at CES, OSVR binaries are now also fully open-source and publically accessible at access.osvr.com.

Hacker Dev Kit updated to v1.1
The OSVR Hacker Developer Kit is designed to be open-source and affordable, without compromising on quality or functionality. As the HDK is still in development, Razer is making improvements to the design and adding modules for additional functionality.

Improvements:

  • 1080p OLED display with higher contrast and faster pixel-switching for lower latency
  • Improved optical mechanics for easier adjustment to individual preferences
  • Ergonomic facemask design for optimal comfort
  • Support for standard 1080p video:
    • Ability to use the HDK with a low-latency wireless video link
    • Ability to mirror the HDK video feed to external monitor
    • Ability to connect smartphones to the HDK* via a SlimPort or MHL standard adapter
    • Ability to convert standard video to side-by-side format in real-time

New Faceplate Modules:
The following modules have been designed for technology evaluation and can be downloaded from the OSVR Website to be 3D-Printed or modified for development needs.

  • IR-LED Faceplate Module – In conjunction with an infrared camera this module will enable positional tracking using pattern detection.
  • Dual-Camera Faceplate Module – With an integrated dual-camera system, this module will enable positional tracking and augmented reality applications.

To find out more and download the designs, go to www.osvr.com/hardware/

Price: $199.99

Availability: shipping by June 2015

About OSVR:
OSVR™ is a software platform designed to set an open standard for virtual reality input devices, games and output to provide the best possible VR game experience. Supported by industry leaders, the OSVR framework unites developers and gamers alike under a single platform.

For the full list of OSVR supporters and more information, go to www.osvr.com.

Like OSVR on FB: https://www.facebook.com/OpenSourceVR

Follow OSVR on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OpenSource_VR

 

Press Contacts:
OSVR
press@osvr.org