Who hasn't played an FPS and wished they could have a HUD overlay in real life? Maybe some of you, but I'm sure the true geeks reading this have! I looked around and nothing fit my budget, so i decided to build one. Rather than attempting to make a display that you could see through, which seemed far too complicated for my taste, I decided to use a camera and screens to do the job. This is the very first build of this idea, using the cheapest components possible really. I have many upgrades planned, which will be listed in the final section of this instructable. Continue on to see how I did it!
Step 1: Parts and Prep
Stuff you'll need:
- Headpones (over ear style)
- Safety Goggles (the cooler looking the better!)
- Personal Media Viewers (look for working ones with broken frames to save money!)
Tools you'll need:
- Hot glue gun
- Small flat blade screwdriver
- Exacto knife
Hey, What did you use?
What did I use you ask? Well first of all, keep in mind that this is the roughest version of this build, so I used entry level parts. My PMVs were MyVu Crystal's, which come apart very easily! The goggles I used are the DeWalt "concealer" model with the smoked lens. Then for headphones I used Sennheiser HD 515s, namely because they were really beaten up and had been laying around for an age! My current webcam is some old junky logitech one. I am already ordering the Microsoft Lifecam (720p, 133 degree FoV, and autofocus!) as an upgrade!
Step 2: Dissasembly and Rough Assembly
You are going to have to disassemble all of the components down to the raw parts you need. In the case of the PMV, you need the screens and lenses. The headphones no longer need the over-head strap, just the speakers in their housings. I would also suggest pulling the camera out of its casing as it will most likely be a tight fit inside the goggles.
Tips for disassembling the PMV:
- Find the small seperations between pieces of the plastic housing and gently pry them
- Get an idea of where all the important bits are and use extra care around them
- The crystals have fully separate screens, but older models have a crossover cable (don't break it)
- I left the earbuds attached to begin with, but eventually will be removing them
Tips for disassembling the headphones:
- Most will just take some moderate prying and removal of some screws
- You only need the speakers and their housing, no headband.
- Be careful not to break the cable connecting the each ear together
Tips for disassembling the camera:
- Should only need to remove a few screws and it will pop apart
I would suggest laying out all the parts and getting an idea for where all the wiring is going to have to go. Most likely there will have to be somewhere that the wires get run through to the outside of the mask. I cut a hole in the seal on the right side of mine to pass all the wires through. It is also a good idea to make sure your camera will be able to point forward at a good angle, and the lenses need a place to sit in front of your eyes.
Step 3: Full Assembly
Now you know where everything is supposed to go, it's time to put it there! As this was the first rendition of these, I decided to forgo adjustability, and fix everything in place with hot glue. It actually works perfectly for this project thanks to its short dry time!
Mount the Camera:
After locating the camera in a place where it wont interfere with the lens, glue it in (making sure its pointing as level as possible.) The camera needs to be fairly solidly mounted as I also used it to hold the lenses/screens in place. Once its glued in place, run the cable around the border of the mask to the exit point and secure it in place with glue.
Mount the Lenses:
This part is tricky, as the lens alignment is very important! If a lens is misaligned it will ruin the whole picture. I used the lens as a guide so i knew the goggles' limitations and found the position that worked for me. I then used glue to attach them to the body of the camera (I don't feel bad doing this because it is old, if yours is nice, check the last section.) Now run the wiring for the lenses around the edge and out the exit point.
Attach the Headphones:
I used the clips that attached the strap as a point to glue the headphones to, Make sure you have the location of the headphones before you do any gluing as this is important to the fitment of the whole unit!
Run remaining Wiring:
Now simply pack the remaining wiring as neatly as you can inside the unit and reattach the lens (if yours was detachable like mine)
Step 4: Final Product and Future Upgrades
- Better camera (HD, auto focus, high frame rate, wide FoV)
- Better lenses (larger viewing area, removing the slight "tunnel" look)
- Fully adjustable lens mounts (different users can adjust to their eyes)
- IR LEDs (allowing the camera to see in low light)
- Head Movement sensor
- HUD (including displays of battery life and other useful info)
- Area microphone (allowing the unit to pick up and intelligently amplify sounds)
It is my goal to eventually make these good enough to wear without hindering vision or hearing!