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Linux Compatibility With VR Goggles? 170

WorldWarCheese writes "Many's the time I wish I had a little more mobility or comfort with my computer. Laptops are OK, but anyone interested can see right onto my screen; and a laptop doesn't quite have that 'cool' factor that VR goggles / headsets do. The problem is, whenever I've looked at the options, Linux compatibility is not mentioned. Is there a VR headset out there that is compatible with Ubuntu? If not, what could I do to make it compatible, and how feasible would that be?"
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Linux Compatibility With VR Goggles?

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  • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:04AM (#26172631)

    and I own those exact goggles.

    They're basically just a low res monitor... or a highly secretive way to watch porn without anyone knowing.

    If you're looking for stereoscopic support, that's up to your display driver manufacturer. Nvidia's stereoscopic mode barely works on Windows, let alone on Linux.

  • Contact the company? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:05AM (#26172649)

    The model you're linked doesn't specify compatibility, though it does list its inputs:
    VGA / SVGA / XVGA Input: Scaled to SVGA (800 x 600)

    It 'might' work out of the box like a plug and play monitor but it also may not.

    The best way to check on Linux support is to contact the manufacturer of the devices you are looking at.

    Custom drivers can be made for linux but it is easier for people to do so with the cooperation of the original developers.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:07AM (#26172683) Journal
    There are, now that small LCDs have gotten cheap, numerous "display glasses" type products that toss an LCD in front of each eye and have some sort of video input(generally VGA or composite, sometimes both or other). Basic VGA-in display glasses should work exactly like any other monitor on virtually anything. No guarantee that the EDID isn't complete nonsense; but it should basically work.

    Any sort of OMG Stereoscopic Vision! drivers, though, will probably be useless in Linux. Those guys [] claim to support stereoscopic shutter glasses under certain conditions; but seem to be aiming at the Real Serious Workstation market. If you can deal with normal, non-3D glasses, you should have no problems, 3D, possibly not so much.
  • Re:VGA Connection (Score:3, Informative)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:08AM (#26172705)

    Well, 800x600 is a little different when the screen is literally an inch from your eyeball.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:09AM (#26172709) Journal
    VR goggles are nothing more than miniature displays that are mounted on eyeglass frames, so I doubt there'd be a compatibility issue, per se. You may have to get your hands deep into the xwindows config files to fine tune things, though, because they likely won't be set up already. Apart from that, they should just appear to be a standard VGA display, I would think.
  • There's the Z800 (Score:5, Informative)

    by zilt ( 33232 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:18AM (#26172847)

    I wrote a linux kernel driver for the eMagin z800 ( [] ) HMD available here: []

    I will be updating it over the holidays to the latest kernel release as I've finally got some time to work on it.

  • by prefect42 ( 141309 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:21AM (#26172885)

    That's simply not true. I use Nvidia Quadro cards for active and passive stereo under linux, and have been for years. It works kinda like you'd expect stereo to work.

  • by N1ck0 ( 803359 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:24AM (#26172923)

    Normally dual displays just expand the size of the viewing area from one camera point. To have stereoscopic support 3D images need to have 2 viewing cameras setup, at a slightly different offset; viewing the same object from different angles.

    So a dual monitor desktop still has just one perspective, for 3D you need 2.

    Its a lot easier to do this with dual displays, as you only really need to modify the camera config in openGL, or your F/X API of choice (of course this is best done in the software itself or via the driver).

    The alternating left-right eye, or polarizing, glasses are a bit harder to do properly. For those you need to synchronize to the frames coming out of the frame buffers (or else its easy to send the right image to the left eye, and vice versa...and also have all sort of sync problems). Most of these never became very popular in the PC world, most of the support for polarized glasses is found in the SGI realm.

  • by 117 ( 1013655 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:36AM (#26173061)
    .... you may not remember me as I am neither Kent Brockman [], nor Troy McClure [].
  • VR Lab (Score:5, Informative)

    by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:39AM (#26173113)

    The Clemson VR lab uses (or used, at least) Linux workstations to run provide input to their VR goggles. Compatibility shouldn't be an issue, but you basically have to provide content yourself -- things won't automatically be cool. We didn't even use any kind of support in the drivers -- the goggles were two 640x480 screens, but were treated as a single 1280x480 screen. We just used OpenGL to draw two versions of our scenes from slightly different positions and presented them side-by-side so that they mapped properly onto the goggles.

    Note: VR goggles are not actually cool to use. They're remarkably uncomfortable, both for your head and your eyes, and they have terrible resolution.

  • Cool == Dorky (Score:3, Informative)

    by drenehtsral ( 29789 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:40AM (#26173115) Homepage

    Y'know, as somebody who has done the whole 'wearable computer' thing, just a warning: We geeks thing wearing a HMD is 'cool', most everybody else things you're a dork. (Some people even took me for a suicide bomber with my battery packs). *sigh*

  • Re:VR goggles, eh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheP4st ( 1164315 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:42AM (#26173145)
    I too am puzzled as to why somebody would drop 1300 bucks on a pair of 640x480 goggles when they can be had for 300. []
  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:46AM (#26173215)
    They do have high res ones, but they're so prohibitively expensive that I doubt anyone on here would get a pair without a hefty research grant and a very specific reason to use them. It took some heavy searching before to find one when I was interested. I sadly can't turn up any links now.
  • no freaking way (Score:5, Informative)

    by Speare ( 84249 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:58AM (#26173325) Homepage Journal

    In my last contract, I worked a VR lab with lots of toys. I have tried everything from $60 to $40,000 head mounted displays. In case you're wondering, the $60 option is an NTSC TV fed into a dimly lit monoscopic visor, while for $40,000 you get an amazing 1280x1024 digital LCD stereoscopic per eye at 90Hz. Nowhere in that range is a device that you can wear to use a GUI or a CLI interface for more than about 40 minutes. Even if your eyeball's diopter requirements are calibrated very carefully, even if your visual acuity is excellent, even if the contrast is good and the font sizes are large and beautiful, you will just not be well-served by reading text on a near-range display for more time than that.

    It may be cute in the movies, but there are no options for head mounted displays that will do what you want to do, essentially live in the visor.

  • Re:Cool == Dorky (Score:3, Informative)

    by tchuladdiass ( 174342 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @12:40PM (#26173845) Homepage

    And there was a point in time when wireless bluetooth headsets looked dorky. They still do, however they have become somewhat accepted.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @02:06PM (#26174863)

    Someone, somewhere is doing it wrong. VR goggles should work fine if you're farsighted. The actual location of the display isn't what matters, it's the distance your eyes need to focus to in order to bring the image into focus. With proper image separation, you should be able to focus on "distant" objects in VR goggles.

    On the other hand, often, focusing on any object for someone with normal eyesight using VR goggles is challenging.

  • From an Earlier Time (Score:3, Informative)

    by BigFootApe ( 264256 ) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:10PM (#26180919)


        Here's some software to read a Mattel Powerglove through the Linux
    serial driver, you must be using a Menelli box to interface to the glove.
    I also wrote a predictive filter to try and eliminate glitches, a TCP-IP
    server-client pair to read data in your application, a posture look-up
    table to recognise hand shapes, and a simple attempt at recognising 6DOF
    movement with vectors and tokenising them into gestures.
        I'm not supporting the software, but I will be hacking around with it
    again after Christmas, so the only condition on using it is to send me
    any fixes, improvements, and ideas on making it better.

    (there is a also an AMI PRO document to go with this stuff, which is
    the project report I wrote for my BSc degree.)

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly