DIY VR HEADSET FOR $80

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Introduction: DIY VR HEADSET FOR $80

About: A seasoned software architect and robotics enthusiast, who enjoys nothing more than tinkering with anything from electronics to code.

My initial goal was to do this for under $150(USD), however after shopping around and changing some parts out for alternatives I managed to get this down to around $80. So let us get started.

The parts required are:

  • Toggle Flick Switch
  • 2x LED
  • 1x resistor 150 Ohm
  • 1x Micro USB cable (at least 2 meters long)
  • 1x HDMI Cable (thin ones work best as they hinder movement less, also at least 2 meters long)
  • Some jumper wires
  • DC Adapter plug 5V 3A (Raspberry Pi compatible one works great)
  • Push Button
  • Google Cardboard Compatible VR Headset (I recommend one with a phone compartment door that opens as it gives better access than the ones which uses a tray that slides in)
  • 6DOF MPU 6050 3Axis gyroscope and accelerometer
  • Arduino Micro (can use off-brand alternative)
  • 5inch RaspberryPi LCD Screen 800×480 with HDMI interface

Supplies

  • Toggle Flick Switch
  • 2x LED
  • 1x resistor 150 Ohm
  • 1x Micro USB cable (at least 2 meters long)
  • 1x HDMI Cable (thin ones work best as they hinder movement less, also at least 2 meters long)
  • Some jumper wires
  • DC Adapter plug 5V 3A (Raspberry Pi compatible one works great)
  • Push Button
  • Google Cardboard Compatible VR Headset (I recommend one with a phone compartment door that opens as it gives better access than the ones which uses a tray that slides in)
  • 6DOF MPU 6050 3Axis gyroscope and accelerometer
  • Arduino Micro (can use off brand alternative)
  • 5inch RaspberryPi LCD Screen 800×480 with HDMI interface

Step 1: Part Costing

All of these parts can be acquired on AliExpress for about $80 ($82.78 to be precise), as can be seen in images.

Step 2: Software Required

You will also require Tridef3D or similar software (there are some free alternatives, but I have not had a chance to give them a try at present). Tridef3D is used to convert any Direct X 9/10/11 game into stereoscopic 3D. Tridef3D offers a 14-day free trial, which is plenty to give this a try. The full version of Tridef3D retails for $39.99.

Step 3: Assembly

Now that we have all the required components, let us begin with the assembly.

The assembly comprises of 3 main elements:

  1. The Arduino Micro circuit (containing the MPU 6050, push button and led)
  2. The Wiring (providing connectivity to Arduino Micro and power to Screen)
  3. Inserting the screen in the headset and connecting the micro USB cables as well as the HDMI cable.

Step 4: The Arduino Micro Circuit

The diagram illustrates how the different components need to be connected to the Arduino Micro.

The push button uses digital pin 5 and the MPU 6050 is connected to the Arduino Micro as follows:
– MPU 6050 SCL pin to Digital Pin 3 on Arduino

– MPU 6050 SDA pin to Digital Pin 2 on Arduino

– MPU 6050 VCC to 5V pin on Arduino

– MPU 6050 GND to GND pin on Arduino

Step 5: Code for Arduino

Here is the code that needs to be loaded on the Arduino.

Step 6: Gyroscope Mounting

Just note that the orientation of the MPU 6050 makes a difference to which of the axis of the gyroscope will be used. For the above code the MPU 6050 was mounted on the side of the headset as shown in the pictures.

In the event of the MPU 6050 being mounted with a different orientation, you might have to substitute between the gx, gy and gz values until the desired configuration is achieved.

For my configuration, I am rotating around the Y and Z axis.

Also the numbers associated with calculation of vx and vy might have to be tweaked to get the results (movement speed etc.) you desire.

I also added a push button, that when pressed temporarily disables the gyroscopic mouse movement. This is useful when you want to reset you point of view in games.

Step 7: Attaching Everything to Headset.

I attached all the parts of this circuit to the VR Headset using double-sided tape.

Step 8: The Wiring

In order to have as few cables as possible connecting to the VR headset I modified the USB cable so that it pulls external power from a DC power adapter (a single USB port will not be able to power both the Arduino and the 5 inch LCD) as well as splitting into 2 micro USBs on one end (one only provided power to the LCD and the other one both power and connectivity to Arduino.) the below diagram shows how the wiring is connected.

For reference a USB cables contains 4 wires:

  • Red wire – +5V DC
  • White or Yellow – Data connectivity
  • Green – Data Connectivity
  • Black – GND

I also included a switch to turn the power on and off (this is useful to turn off the mouse functionality until it is needed, otherwise it will interfere with mouse movement when it is not desired), as well as an, LED to show when the headset is powered on.

Step 9: Inserting Screen in Headset and Connecting All the Wiring

The LCD screen is held in place by the clamps in the headset used to hold a phone (it is a snug fit). Then simply connect the 2 micro USBs to the LCD and Arduino respectively (ensuring the plug with the data connections is plugged into the Arduino and that the power only micro USB is plugged into the power socket on the LCD display). Try to run the cables in the extra spaces in the Headset around the screen in order to keep them out of the way.

Lastly connect the HDMI cable to the LCD.

The assembly is now complete.

Step 10: Connecting Headset to PC and Setting Up Software

To connect the headset to your PC do the following:

  1. Plug the DC adapter into mains power.
  2. Plug the USB connector into an available USB port in your PC.
  3. Connect HDMI cable into and available HDMI port on your PC graphics card (You can use a DVI port with an adapter)

Go to display settings and click on detect displays, then set Multiple displays to “Duplicate these Displays” and make sure your resolution is set to 800×480.

Open up Tridef3D and start-up a game. You might have to play around with each individual games graphical settings as well as mouse sensitivity to get the best results.

For future enhancements, I will look at getting a higher definition LCD screen and also work on head movement tracking by using infrared LEDs and a Wiimote (Wiimote used as an IR Camera).

And there you have it a DIY VR Headset for $80.

Give it a try.

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    51 Comments

    0
    princedautomne
    princedautomne

    1 day ago on Step 2

    There are some free alternatives to tridef3d around:

    (recommended) Reshade with depth3d or depth3d_vr shader installed and nvidia 3dvision is NOT required, only you brain. Install, when prompt , skip and install (super)depth3d.
    https://reshade.me/

    Also 3dfixmanager but it requires to install older video drivers in order to use nvidia 3dvision and somewhat tedious to make it work properly but works good once you manage by some miracle to make it work.
    https://helixmod.blogspot.com/2017/05/3d-fix-manag...

    3dmigoto: not plug and play and requires nvidia 3dvision in order tot work but it worth looking into it.
    https://github.com/bo3b/3Dmigoto/releases

    0
    Rockfantic
    Rockfantic

    23 days ago

    Hi my question is can this headset can work in unity vr and if it could connect to steam vr and how many degrees of freeedom it has?

    1
    22numani
    22numani

    Reply 19 days ago

    it has 6 but u could have 9 if u had different gyro

    0
    Rockfantic
    Rockfantic

    Reply 5 days ago

    Thank you i didn't realize it worked with steam vr

    0
    22numani
    22numani

    Reply 2 days ago

    it wont
    my bad

    0
    Rockfantic
    Rockfantic

    Reply 5 days ago

    I was going to build the retivity headset but will try this first

    1
    22numani
    22numani

    Reply 19 days ago

    it can connect to steam vr

    0
    22numani
    22numani

    Question 20 days ago

    Can u basically tell me how to do this with SOULDERING since i dont have a bread bord
    thx

    0
    S3SB01
    S3SB01

    Question 2 months ago

    My PC Has an HDMI In And Out, But i Don't see a Graphics card (Half of the Back is Removed) Will This Still Work? Can i use a Raspberry PI 3 B+??

    0
    maharajjovan
    maharajjovan

    Question 4 months ago

    I'm actually trying to build something similar, do you think its possible to use software such as spacedesk, spacedesk is a software that uses your wifi network to allow you to extend your pc across multple displays wirelessly ( like phones, tablets and even a laptop screen) and an android phone as a display, instead of using a screen with cables?

    0
    r4rony
    r4rony

    7 months ago

    Is there any specific graphics card that should be used on the host computer and can you give example of an high end graphics game that worked on this headset please?

    0
    Omaeeee
    Omaeeee

    Question 9 months ago

    Can I use it as a standalone and add sensors to copy my hand movement so it can be a vr complete set and maybe some cameras.

    0
    oskxpompa
    oskxpompa

    Question 1 year ago

    whether windows mixed reality or SteamVR will detect this is as "real" headset?

    0
    samueleliryan
    samueleliryan

    Question 1 year ago

    Is that 800×480 screen a high enough resolution? I have been snooping for a good screen for a similar project but most VR headsets are stupidly high rez, does this one make the cut or is it better to try and find one in HD?

    0
    jamesvdberg
    jamesvdberg

    Answer 1 year ago

    A higher resolution screen would be a nice upgrade, I could not find one at a reasonable price when I built this, but if it is an option definitely rather go for a full HD screen.

    0
    harrylahd384
    harrylahd384

    Question 1 year ago

    Hi, have you got an updated shopping cart for ali express? I am having lots of troubling finding some of the parts. Thanks

    0
    jamesvdberg
    jamesvdberg

    Reply 1 year ago

    Are there specific items you are struggling to source? If so please share and I will try and find alternatives for you.

    0
    LeoB64
    LeoB64

    1 year ago

    Thanks! Had been looking for a way to use my DJI google on X-plane flight sim for a more realistic view of the cockpit. Compressed your design and put it in a case attached to side of Goggles and works like a charm! Used a microswitch inside the case.

    Thanks again,

    IMG_5848.jpgIMG_5847.jpg
    0
    jamesvdberg
    jamesvdberg

    Reply 1 year ago

    Awesome work!

    0
    Techyman69
    Techyman69

    2 years ago

    Am I able to use this on a MacBook Air as opposed to just a PC? If so, how?