The Durovis Dive VR HMD Has Arrived

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The VR Trifecta

The Durovis Dive is a low cost Head Mounted Display accessory for smartphones. It’s a cheap alternative to an Oculus Rift given that it’s just the lenses and housing. The screen, sensors and processing power is in a smart phone that you already own. It started as Open Dive, which is a 3d printable HMD, driving the cost down further. All you have to do is source the lenses and headband.

The Pro’s are its cost, no wires, and being a phone, has wifi, sensors, a camera, speakers and a microphone. I like this because it means I can experiment with different things much faster than hacking this together for a rift.

The Con’s are smart phones can’t do as much graphically compared to a good gaming rig. The FOV isn’t as good. The lenses aren’t as good. The sensors aren’t as good.  The SDK isn’t as good.  For the cost, I think it’s a good item to pick up if you want to dabble in VR but don’t want to drop the cash on a high end PC and an Oculus.

The head tracking and performance of the dive isn’t nearly as good as the rift. I thought the laggy head tracking would be a deal breaker, but it’s actually not that bad. Especially if you’re developing simple graphics.

In this video I show a demo I originally wrote for the Dive and I do a mini review of the Dive

All games developed for the Dive in Unity are easily ported to the Rift by replacing the player object.  The SDK currently supports Android and iOS. I’ve developed a few demos for my BlackBerry. Comparing hardware and given the excellent cross platform support in Unity, there is zero reason why a game you develop for VR wouldn’t work for the Dive on Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Oculus on PC, MAC and Linux.

Shown in the gallery below, the Durovis has real problems allowing not just light but plain sight of real world objects through the holes in this device. Also the divider between your eyes is far too shallow, you can see the opposite screen with each eye. I used some black construction paper and some tape to build a divider that slides over top of the existing one. To cover the holes in the sides and bottom I think I’ll place some strips of black fabric on the inside.

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