Introduction: Immersive HMD (Head Mounted Display)

Picture of Immersive HMD (Head Mounted Display)

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

Picture of Parts and Prep

You are going to need  4 components, basic tools and a fairly delicate touch for this instructable.

Stuff you'll need:
- Webcam
- 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

Picture of 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

Rough Assembly

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

Picture of Full Assembly

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

Picture of Final Product and Future Upgrades

The final product not only looks cool, but it really fun to play games on!

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!


diybomber834 (author)2016-01-30

why do you need a web cam what is the purpse of it.

egüner (author)2014-05-18

This is really useful however I need to ask something. How do I connect the headphones and camera to the PMV?

minijc (author)2013-08-17

so you see what the web cam sees am i right if not how could you wire it up so you could see what the web cam sees.

momio1121 (author)2012-12-07

dude how can I get the tiny screens? thanks

McChicken (author)2012-04-24

I'm planning building this to fit inside my Iron Man helmet (Full metal- Instructable coming soon) and I think i've found a way of creating a HUD. I'm cannibalising an iPhone 4S and making a new OS for it, just basic stuff like date and time, music, horizon indicator, temperature, then using a live feed from two cameras in stereo as the background. I'm using two of the 4S cameras, they have better picture quality than my lifecam and theyre smaller.

lkryger (author)McChicken2012-11-02

how are you going to upload/remake the OS???

spya (author)McChicken2012-09-21

That would be so awsome!

minijc (author)2012-04-01

could you link this up to a ps3 or xbox 360

jrg3ni0us (author)minijc2012-07-22

A little wire splicing with the correct plug (I'd suggest using the Connection to the TV) should have it up and running

jrg3ni0us (author)jrg3ni0us2012-07-22

An addition: Substitute the webcam for the correct wiring. You won't have much use for it

jrg3ni0us (author)2012-07-22

What are personal media vieers and where can I find them?

khenry1 (author)2012-05-06

dude his is so cool can you make video on this

jackle13 (author)2012-04-04

so cool i wish i could make one but i dont have any of the stuff but is awsome

tox1cchicken (author)2011-12-21

what does this look like from the inside? I.e. looking through the googles?

maxiaxie (author)2011-10-03

I am considering this as the HMD base for my current idea - Project Photon. This project will feature a number of devices, such as an HMD, nightvision goggles (I can add some ultrabright IRs to the HMD you have here), in-built laser cutters and lots of other light based fun. If anyone has an idea, please reply to this!

:) thanks, Maxiaxie

Edit: might add walkie talkies as well if the sound is fixed on this design.

ckine (author)maxiaxie2011-10-03

i am interested in this project and if you have a website or blog or something i could check it out that would be great

elimisteve (author)ckine2011-10-11

I'm also very interested, and I think many other hackerspace people in particular would be.

Have you considered creating a KickStarter project for this?

maxiaxie (author)ckine2011-10-05

currently, i'm running it off of this amazing new server (notepad and paper), so if you want, i can email you a blueprint copy. i'll private-message my email address to you. thx

blinhardt (author)2011-10-05

Good work..

Banfield Design (author)2011-09-25

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the giant gaps in my communication, I haven't spent nearly enough time here thanks to a giant life-explosion. Feel free to direct any questions as PM's as that makes it easier for me to answer you.

Version 2.0 is still under way but is on hold till I can devote my time to it again.


sk8trboipyro (author)2011-09-21

do you think it would be possible to use viewfinders from older camcorders? just a thought, as it might be quite a bit cheaper than myvu crystals

289poppy (author)2011-08-24

here's a question: I can't find/afford a PMV, can I just use a laptop LCD with some sort of diverging lens or something? I mean sure it'd be more bulky, but what's your people's opinions?

289poppy (author)2011-08-23

Here's a question that may seem a tad bit I really need a PMV? (darn those things are expensive!) or can I instead just hook up a laptop LCD with a diverging lens or something? I mean it sound pretty straightforwards to me, what's your people's opinion?

ghostrider2 (author)2011-07-03

i have found a way to improve this for military use. i think i could turn it into a very efficient system. just to warn everybody, though, i will patent it, so watch out.

tinker234 (author)ghostrider22011-07-04

i am working on a protype exoskelten suit please tell me in a private message pleasea i would like to know

KevinAlien26 (author)tinker2342011-08-23

People post things on instuctables to share with everyone, I don't think it's purpose is for someone to use someone else's ideas to make money off of and then paten it to keep others from making it? Seems a bit unfair to all of us especially to the true creator of it.

tinker234 (author)KevinAlien262011-08-23

i wouldnt patenet just a test

ghostrider2 (author)tinker2342011-07-04

cant. my prototype is needed for my own exoarmor. simply put, im starting off with the pepakura method to prove the concept for paintball, then upgrading everything as i get more money and technology until it is battle ready you know, start all paper and bondo, add motors and a control system for better mobility, replace paper with sheet metal, and continue to work from there into something close to iron man capabilities(minus flight. the technology for a powered suit with flying ability is years away from what i can come up with.)

ghostrider2 (author)2010-06-07

is there any way you could use additional cameras to use an eye tracking program to eliminate the need of a mouse and keyboard?

KevinAlien26 (author)ghostrider22011-08-23

You should check out what some guys did with the playstation eye. eye tagging or some sort. It was pretty neat and seems to may be of use to you

Lyokoking99 (author)ghostrider22010-09-04

Most regular cams won't work for that I don't believe, but you could replace a mouse and keyboard with a button board in the palm of a hand on a glove, and a joystick on there to use as a mouse.

BodenM (author)Lyokoking992010-12-26

How about modifying a Nintendo Power Glove from the NES? It has a keypad and a D-Pad.

tinker234 (author)BodenM2011-07-04

that be cool

carrotman42 (author)Lyokoking992011-01-22

Facel eg. lip and eyes or whatever isn't too hard to do and there are many programs tracking eyes: faceapi and manyCam are just two I have on my computer. There is one for PPJoy code to change facal movements into actions but tbh speech recognision IS easier and will be more accerate as more people look into that market.

csarmiento (author)2011-07-16

hey peps i am trying to make one but for a bike helmet. i want to project my route and gps info on the visor but i still want to be able to see through it. any hints?

KevinAlien26 (author)csarmiento2011-08-23

Use sort of a monocle, a 1 eyed piece so u can see the road and see ur route. I believe ur right eye is the one used most by your brain so u may want to put ur screen and eye piece on your left eye so it's not to distort your view

sidorthatotherguy (author)2011-08-23

that would make for an awesome daft punk helmet

goober6 (author)2011-08-05

wait. it's a hmd to put on just to see what's in front of you?

Railes (author)2011-08-04

Seams like watching those tiny screens would be extremely taxing to the eyes.

I recall a pair of night vision goggles I have from eyeclops, Headache in under 10 mins.

epicblue (author)2011-07-19

i don't really feel like spending $100 on a PMV, and i can't find a used one or anything like one. any ideas? or have one u want to spare for me?

dvnkmmy (author)2010-02-16

Two Questions:
1: What is the power source?
2: How do your hear anything with the headphones.
Im only asking because it looks good for like Nerf or airsoft wars, but i just need to know how hearing works with that thingy

dvnkmmy (author)dvnkmmy2010-02-16

i might just use this for next years sci fair project on Military use

Banfield Design (author)dvnkmmy2010-02-17

I have started a military concept already, if you want I could give you the information on what features it would have? It uses the laptop (in a small backpack) for all of its power, so far this gives it a life of around 4-5 hours on its own, though I carry the power cord in the pack and plug it in where I can. The headphones are "open air" so the grilles on the side let sound through. In future I will switch over to sealed ones, and let some good microphones and software do the work

please send me some blueprints i hope to start a concept suit next year to gather plans and money to make a concept suit

Great instructable! Could use a little more detail, but it's understandable that it shifts between parts.

I was thinking of mounting this into a replica helmet from a video game, but also adding IR lights on the sides for night vision, do webcams have IR filters?

I agree it's a great idea but the instructable itself needs more detail

Kindhamster (author)Thundertydus2010-05-11

most cameras are able to pick up ir light.
If you're willing to pay a bit, you can by security cameras that are designed to run on ir light. all you have to do is take the ir leds out of the camera housing and voila.

Would love a full detail on the military style units.

dvnkmmy (author)dziedzicadam2010-03-06

that would be nice!! I have an old mac that i dont use. would that work? What would protect the camera? I am really interested in this :D

StaticIp (author)2010-07-12

I can't wait to see the updates! Im getting my parts list together now. I am getting a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 with a stereo mic MyVu crystals, mini usb sound card, mini usb hub to connect everything inside the unit, LEDs mounted on the goggle frame. Would usb be enough to power the LEDs? And how did you connect your PMVs to your computer?

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