How to Make a Virtual Reality 3D Tracking Headset for Under 10$




From the past 5 years, the increasingly popular Virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift, Google cardboard, Microsoft HoloLens, have currently dominated the consumer electronics sector to such extent that they much frequently grab a space in most tech magazines, blogs, websites,etc. With the collaboration of head-mounted displays/digital glasses and computer technology, these devices create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world.

This Instructable will guide you to make your very own virtual reality device which is very very much like the popular device Oculus rift which on the contrary costs 350$. The skills required for this device is pretty basic in tech and more basic in electronics. This device works with most Oculus rift games like Call of Duty, Silent hill, Flight simulator,etc and VR applications. So..Let`s get started!.........

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Step 1: Items to Grab...

  • An official/Unofficial cardboard headset - These headsets can purchased online fully assembled for 2-4 dollars like I did it else can be made at home for more cheap. The lens required for construction can be taken from any standard binoculars, the distance between the lens and the phone for display will be about 1.5 inch. For construction reference, see the pics.
  • 3 No. mid-size white LED
  • 3 No. 2-4 inch straight equal length sticks
  • A single 9 volt battery with a 5-10k resistor or 2 AA Batteries
  • 1-2 Ft. wire
  • Super glue/an quick adhesive

Home Items

  • 4.7-5.3 inch screen Android/IOS Phone
  • Laptop/Computer with Webcam

Downloads to do

And on to the construction........

Step 2: The Circuit

Using the reference pic above build a simple circuit connecting the three LED to the Battery. You also can add a simple switch for convenience and solder joints for durability. Make sure to give adequate wire length on each LED to avoid future inconvenience.

Step 3: Attaching the Sticks

Using glue, attach 2 equal length sticks parallel to each other on either side of the frame, allotting 1/4 length of the stick to be attached to the frame. Attach a third stick in a slanted 60 degree position half-way thru the top of the frame. Use adequate amount of glue for increased sturdiness and durability. See pics for reference.

Step 4: Adding the LED Circuit

With the help of tape and glue, firmly attach the three LEDs onto the end of the sticks, positioning them to face the front side of the headset. Using a stickpad/battery holder, attach the battery to one side of the headset that allows both circuit wire to reach the corresponding battery terminal easily. Tape the wires to the headset for durability and neatness.

Completing these finishes us off with the headset, now we`ll start work with our PC and mobile.

Step 5: Configure PC and Phone

Download and install the soft wares mentioned in step 1.

Tridef 3D- TriDef 3D automatically converts DVDs, PC media files and photo files to 3D. You can play back originally made 3D content encoded in a variety of popular 3D formats – top/bottom, 2D plus depth and side by side. Play hundreds of the latest DirectX 9, 10 and 11 PC games, converted to 3D automatically. (*Note- During installation, select side-by-side 3D for the headset to work)

FaceTrackNoIR- Modular headtracking program that supports multiple face-trackers, filters and game-protocols. Among the trackers are the SM FaceAPI, AIC Inertial Head Tracker and PointTracker (IR-tracker derived from FreeTrack). After installing, Select Game Protocol to Mouse Look and Tracker Source to PointTracker. For this program to work properly, you should sit in a well lit room with a good position so your webcam can track the LEDs easily within its range.

KinoConsole- It is remote desktop application optimised for streaming games to your smartphone or tablet device. It basically mirrors PC display to an Android phone. Play games in windowed fullscreen mode for this to work.

Step 6: Testing

Follow the steps for a successful start up, First open FaceTrackNoIR and tweak settings as required. Different games has different setting so trial and error method have to be used sometimes. Then run Desktop streamer and the paired-up android app, after successful streaming to android screen run Tridef 3D. In Tridef 3D, browse a 3D game and launch through it. Slide your phone at the front of the headset with running streaming app. Turn on the LEDs and position yourself in-front of your webcam. Run the game in full screen windowed mode and tweak in game 3D settings for a smoother experience. Now you should be up and running.

Step 7: Finished

So by now the device should be up and running. Supporting hundreds of games it can set you off at cheap and easy.


Hope you all liked my Instructable, Questions and Feedback will be welcomed.


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12 Discussions


3 years ago

Hi there,

I was wondering if there were any free alternatives to TriDef, as I cant justify the $40



3 years ago

I made my DIY Virtual Reality headset for Ipad mini:


3 years ago

Finally a tracking structable without the use of the wii mote. Have you compared the latency to Trinus Gyre? It uses the phone's gyro to transmit movement data from your head to the computer, no need for anything else on the cardboard.


4 years ago on Introduction

Hi Arunabh, is there anyway to stream my pc to my phone via wire/cable. thi could solve latency issues (that i have and that others may have.)


4 years ago on Introduction

Hey Arunabh! Thanks for giving the names of apps required for streaming and head tracking. I was aware ofvr headsets a long time ago but i was unable to find the right software for it. So thnxx. Ok so i did the same as you wrote. Just the difference was that i put two of the sticks ,not on the sides but on the bottom( so that if a phone longer than the width of headset is used then the sticks will not conflict with the edges of the phone). But im having problem configuring facetracknoir. I selected point tracker. And in its settings i selected cap as model b cuz the led alignment resembles the same. But even after giving thw right dimensions, it doesnt track correctly. When i turn my head left the icon turns up. The face api work correctly but the point tracker doesnt. Plz help. Thnxx in advance.

1 reply

Hey 1101Snehil,

I'm glad I was able to help you in some way. As for your current problem, (i'm assuming you have visited the troubleshoot site for TrackNoIR and have not found any answer) I cannot give you any pinpoint solution as these software work differently with different hardware and models thou I am suggesting some tips that may solve your problem.

Try lowering your top LED stick length, it seems to have solved many people's software error in tracking. Also, try configuring x, y, z-axis calibration in Model<Pointracker settings, Curves located in the main screen and Mouse look settings in Game protocol. Set filtering to high.

If even this dosen't help try installing it's substitute softwares FreeTrack-

Hope this helps,

Thanks, Enjoy!


4 years ago

Nice ible! Sorry, this might just be my ignorance speaking here but what exactly is the point of adding external leds when the vr box is designed to run "as is"? I thought the point of vr is to eliminate the outside world and make the inside (the vr box) the users new world. But like I said nice ible! I've actually never seen anyone use one of those vr boxes so it's reassuring that they do actually work somewhat! ?

2 replies


Thank you for your appreciation, I am pleased that you think so much of my instructable. The use of LEDs here is to create 3 bright points at specified position to enable the software using webcam track our head-movements. Now why can't my phone do this, because phone sensors have many cons

-High Latency, -Jittery experience, -Very frequent loss of calibration, - High battery consumption, -Can get motion sick and the main, it is not accurate/stable enough.

Now, we don't wanna make thrash >_< so that is why we have added a second tracking mode that is accurate, with low latency and cheap. I hope you undersand, how we can not run the VR headset 'as is'.

If you have more queries, please don't hesitate to comment.



4 years ago on Introduction

Hey bro nice instructable, I was wondering where do you keep the phone and also if you could show a video and upload pics showing the inside of the headset with the phone in place thanks

1 reply
Arunabh AwasthiVeerus

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Hey Veerus,

I am glad you liked my instructable. As you asked I have uploaded some pics showing you the phone in place. As for the video, I am having some problems with my current webcam so as soon as I get a decent webcam, I`ll post a video showing the headset at work.



4 years ago