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Open source DK2 reveals cancelled Oculus headset

DKHD would have been smaller and lighter than original Rift, but screen and tracking weren't good enough

Oculus has released an open source version for DK2, and shared more information about the work put into evolving the Rift.

The open source release gives developers access to everything they would want to know about the hardware, including schematics, technical specifications, board layout and more. It is now available through GitHub.

In a blog post by Oculus engineer Nirav Patel, the firm reveals that the launch of DK1 in 2013 did not immediately lead to work on DK2. Instead, the team began exploring the potential of a headset that was ultimately never released, codenamed DKHD.

"DKHD was smaller and lighter than DK1 and had a fantastic pixel density, but was ultimately a dead end because it was unable to deliver presence in VR with a high persistence screen and orientation only tracking," Patel writes.

He adds that the size of the team at the time, when Oculus was still a start-up, meant they needed to reuse as much of the DK1 design and technology as possible in order to meet their launch schedule.

The firm even had to "get creative about using off-the-shelf parts" for DK2, such as an entire screen assembly from a Galaxy Note 3.

But while the open source release talks of off-the-shelf parts and theoretically gives studios everything they would need to construct their own headset, Patel advises against it.

"Some of the components of DK2 are challenging or impossible to source today, so it may not be possible for an individual to build a full headset from the provided files," he concludes. "We hope that parts of this release are useful though as learnings if nothing else."

Oculus previously released open source versions of the Rift DK1 and its Latency Tracker in order to help more developers understand and explore the potential of virtual reality development.

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