European 3D printed open source VR headset project

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Three European companies have teamed up to develop an open source virtual reality headset using  6GHz WiFi 6E wireless.

Czech 3D print specialist Prusa Research is working with simulator developer Vrgineers and Somnium Space in the UK on the Somnium VR ONE headset. This can be wired or standalone, and aims to change the restrictive supply in the virtual reality market by being as open as possible.

The plan is to sell it under an unlimited commercial license using Android 11 as an open-source operating system with the source code openly available. It will be based around the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 CPU with 8 GB of LPDDR5 memory and 512 GB of UFS flash storage as well as support for microSD memory cards.

It will use the new WiFi 6e high bandwidth wireless protocol in 6GHz band for higher bandwidth and low latency connections rather than the existing congested 5GHz and 2.4Ghz WiFi bands. It will have dual 3.2inch 2880RGB*2880 Fast LCDs displays that gives a Horizontal field of view (FoV) of 120 ° and vertical FoV of 100 °. It will have a USB-C USB2.0 battery pack and two USB-C 10 Gbit/s links for external accessories (USB 3.2 Gen2)

The electronics and proprietary lenses will be mass manufactured in partnership with Vrgineers, a VR training company in Prague, and sold by Somnium Space online for customers to 3D print their own headset. Fully assembled headsets will also be available.

“We would like to see other products, such as virtual reality headsets, follow the same open-source, community approach as our Prusa printers. Anyone will be able to download a 3D model of the Somnium Space headset from and print them at home on their printer,” said Joseph Pruse, CEO of Prusa Research.

The company was founded in 2012 in Prague and has grown to a team of over 700. The open-sourced Prusa i3 design is the most used 3D printer in the world, shipping over 10,000 Original Prusa printers per month to over 160 countries directly from Prague.

“Each user deserves to fully own hardware they buy and be able to customize, repair and enhance it anytime. We would like to provide an unrestricted hardware and software environment to all VR enthusiasts around the world. 3D models of the headset parts will be available so that any user with access to a 3D printer can print them out. Android OS source codes will be in a public GIT, this is the freedom for metaverses, where we plan to spend much more time in the future,” said Artur Sychov, CEO and founder of London-based Somnium Space.

“This project is based on a solid foundation of Vrgineers technical expertise in manufacturing virtual and mixed reality headsets for professionals and backed by direct investments into Vrgineers by Somnium Space and Prusa Research,” said MarekPolcak, CEO of Vrgineers.

Vrgineers in the Czech Republic is a simulator developer providing Synthetic Training Environments (STE) to professional and military clients. It currently employs an international team of 50 specialists in Prague, Brno and Las Vegas and has developed a professional 8K headset called XTAL that is used by NASA, Airbus Defense & Space and BAE Systems.

London-based Somnium Space is an open, social and persistent Virtual Reality platform built on blockchain. Its unique decentralized NFT based economy allows users to own, trade and exchange digital items in a permissionless way. It has already teamed up with Lynx on a standalone augmented reality (AR) headset design, the Lynx R-1 with Qualcomm and Ultraleap.;

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