Introducing the 3D Printable Virtual Reality Headset for the OnePlus One Smartphone

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vrhead4You have to love the creativity we have been seeing from designers around the world when it comes to 3D printing. The technology has provided innovators and inventors with a means of fabricating ideas that pop into their heads without the need for expensive manufacturing processes. For one designer, who has worked with 3D printing since 2004 within the jewelry industry, the technology has allowed him to create something that was not readily available on the open market.

Rene Meeh had purchased a OnePlus One smartphone which he really enjoyed a lot. However, there was something missing.

“There are a few VR (virtual Reality) Headsets for phones out there and none of them supports a large smart phone like the OnePlus One,” Meeh explained to 3DPrint.com. “The OnePlus One phone has full HD resolution, an ultra fast processor and exceptional battery life. This makes it just perfect for a VR headset. After having traveled recently on American Airlines with no video on domestic flights and one mini screen in the center row on an international flight without control, I thought this must be the perfect travel companion. Also my wife was looking for a way to follow her spin classes without any distraction from the surroundings.”

vrhead6So Meeh decided to create his own. When he first set out to design his VR Headset, he wanted to make it as all encompassing as possible. He noticed that only a few of the headsets on the market today have the ability to adjust the pupillary distance and/or diopter for individuals who are slightly far or short sighted. He also took note that very few headsets allow you to use your phone’s camera to switch between virtual reality and your real environment. At the same time, he wanted a headset that would be ready for augmented reality applications.

“So, I bought a couple of magnifying glasses, stripped out the lenses and measured the distance I needed between the lens and the phone screen for a sharp image,” Meeh tells us. “From there I started designing the headset around the phone in a software called ‘Rhinoceros 3D.’ The threads for the adjustable parts have a special thread design with a 45 degree angle towards the print base. I printed several prototypes, until finally everything came together.”

Meeh actually uses a 3D printer that not many of us have heard of, for most of his 3D printing jobs. He uvrhead1ses a machine call the CTC printer, which is a Chinese clone of the MakerBot Replicator. He tells us that it provides reasonable print quality relative to its low price tag.

The VR headset came out very well, and while you would probably assume that it features several electronic components, in fact it does not. It can actually be 3D printed from home by almost anyone.

“Other [than] the phone there is nothing else you need,” says Meeh. “In order to control various apps and do some gaming, you need a Bluetooth controller. For uninterrupted viewing you just plug in your headphones.”

When the headset is worn, the lenses are adjustable. This can be done by turning the lens rings, and allows for a person who wears glasses to put them aside when the headset is on. Meeh has tested his headset with watching movies as well. He has tested ‘VR Player’ from the Google Play Store. It allows for voice commands via the OnePlus One’s Bluetooth capabilities.

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There are also other various movie applications available in the Play Store, which provide for different display options and functionality. Meeh believes that Virtual Reality is just beginning to break the surface, and we will see more intuitive apps released in the near future.

“The amount of VR apps for Android is increasing fast, while the VR headsets for Android phones are becoming more and more popular,” he explains.

Other than the 3D printed parts, the headset requires lenses, 4 screws, a head strap, and face foam. Meeh tells us that he may consider offering kits for sale that include all of these items, to make it easier for others to 3D print and assemble these headsets. What do you think about Meeh’s incredible creation? Discuss in the 3D Printed Virtual Reality Headset forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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