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Wearable Tech

Razer's upgraded OSVR Hacker Dev Kit sports modular faceplates and an OLED display

Razer's Hacker Dev Kit reaches version 1.1, and adds new tools for tinkerers.

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Razer's original OSVR virtual-reality goggles. Scott Stein/CNET

Razer's OSVR Hacker Dev Kit is getting a face-lift. The latest update to the company's open-source virtual reality headset sports a full-HD OLED display, which Razer claims will offer higher contrast and clear up some of the latency issues we saw in the first build at CES earlier this year . The headset has also been tweaked to improve comfort, gains the ability to connect to smartphones, and can also mirror what's on the Dev Kit's screen to another display. The biggest addition is aimed at the tinkerers out there: Razer is making plans for modular faceplates available for download that'll add new features and functionality to the Hacker Dev Kit.

The original version of the Hacker Dev Kit could be taken apart to let users swap out and upgrade components. Enterprising tinkerers will likely dream up changes they'd like to make, but Razer is offering a few options of its own, in the form of faceplate modules. Both are aimed at implementing positional head-tracking, a feature found in the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype and Sony's Project Morpheus, but not in the original version of the Razer's VR headset. The IR-LED faceplate will use an infrared camera, while the dual-camera faceplate opts for a pair of cameras instead.

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The latest version should be a little more comfortable. CNET

So why is Razer creating two faceplates that ostensibly do the same thing? Experimentation: pop over to Razer's OSVR hardware site, and you'll be able to download plans to 3D print either module. You can also tweak the faceplates as you see fit, should you want to change the shape or add some new hardware for your own projects. You'll need your own supplies to get started of course, but Razer representatives told me that the company is mulling over making pre-assembled faceplates available for purchase to folks who don't necessarily have access to a 3D printer, or don't want to get their hands dirty.

The latest version of the Hacker Developer Kit will still cost $200 when it ships in June. That converts to around £130 or AU$245, but while Razer did confirm the device will ultimately be shipping globally, there's no word on international pricing or availability.

Razer will be showing the latest version of the Hacker Developer Kit at the Game Developers Conference here in San Francisco, so stay tuned for more news.