Monday, March 23, 2015


Arles (image source: Wikipedia)
I'm heading to the city of Arles in the south of France (someone had to go, right?) to participate in the IEEE VR conference and exhibition. This would probably be my sixth or seventh IEEE VR but going to it the feeling and the goals are different.

What's unique at IEEE VR is the it is first and foremost an academic conference, not a VR exhibition. Hundreds and hundreds of researchers (many of which are Sensics customers) come to share, learn and discuss their research, experience cutting-edge demos that are not yet mature enough to show up at a GDC or CES. Because of the renewed interest in VR, I'm sure there will quite a few corporate visitors that were missing from previous years and wish to pick up trends, technologies and partners.

I am chairng a panel discussion on the resurgence of open-source VR. My co-panelists (Sebastien Kuntz from MiddleVR, Goeffrey Subileau from Dassault Systemes and Bill Sherman from the Desert Research Institute) will seek to answer several questions including:
  • What’s new (relative to 1-2 years ago) in open-source and closed-source VR software
  • When should I use closed-source and when should I use open-source?
  • Should I contribute to open-source projects, and if so, why?
  • What’s missing in current open-source VR?
  • Is there an opportunity to combine open-source and closed-source frameworks
and of course we will take questions from the audience.

Later in the conference, Dr, Ryan Pavlik and I will be presenting a technical overview of OSVR, targeting both industry and academia.

When not in session, we will be demonstrating the OSVR HDK and the Sensics dSight at the exhibit area.

But what I am most interested in doing at the conference is listening. I want to hear about all the great research that is out there. I want to have in-depth conversations with people who might want to become OSVR partners, whether it is to hack the OSVR HDK, write a smart software plugin for the software platform or create some new kind of VR experience.

If you are going, look me up! If you're not, stay tuned on these pages for what I found at the show.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A brief overview of the OSVR source-code repositories

The OSVR team opened up most of the source code repositories to the public this weekend, and a few additional repositories will be opened in the coming days. Because Sensics is a founding contributor to this open-source VR project, many have asked us for a brief overview of the project.

The best place to start is If you haven't read the 'introduction to OSVR whitepaper' you might want to do so.

There are several github projects under the /osvr organization. They are as follows:

Key projects:

  • OSVR-Core : this is the heart of the project. The OSVR_server executable connects the game to the OSVR hardware and software components.


  • OSVR-Tracker-Viewer is a utility that graphically shows the position and orientation of the head and hand controllers. It is also an OSVR client, and thus an example on how to connect to and extract data from the server
  • Distortionizer: a utility to estimate distortion correction parameters for various HMDs and a shader to implement the parameters estimated by the Distortionizer. OSVR has JSON descriptor files for HMDs (and many other objects) and the distortion parameters are part of that JSON file

Game engine plugins:

  • OSVR-Unity includes a prefab component that can be imported into Unity. 
  • OSVR-Unreal (to be released later this week) is an Unreal Engine plugin

Development tools:

  • OSVR-Boxstarter is a Boxstarter install that helps quickly set up a development environment on a Windows machine
  • OSVR-JSON-Editor is the source code for a tool (deployed version here) that helps create and edit the JSON descriptor files
  • OSVR-JSON-Schemas is a repository for such JSON files


  • OSVR-Oculus-Rift provides a plugin that allows using the position and orientation data of an Oculus device inside OSVR. 
  • OSVR-Vuzix (to be released later this week) does the same for Vuzix headsets
Additional projects are coming. There is also a wiki page. Issues are currently tracked as part of the Github pages of the projects and we are looking to add an open-source project management tool.

OSVR (licensed under Apache 2.0 license) aims to create a multi-platform framework to detect, configure and operate a wide range of VR devices as well as to allow smart plugins that turn data into useful information. This is a big undertaking and there is a lot more work to be done to fulfill that vision, so we are looking for all the help we can get. I am super encouraged by the support and feedback we are getting from developers all over the world that believe in the open-source concept, and want to make their contributions towards moving VR forward. 

Let me know what you think. What's missing, what your priorities are and how we can get you involved. Welcome to OSVR.