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Open Source Virtual Reality gains 13 more partners, gives away VR kits to universities

Software, hardware, interfaces and audio: OSVR has new partners in the fold in advance of its June launch, and a plan to seed some headsets to universities.

Scott Stein/CNET

Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) , the initiative from Razer and Sensics to connect multiple VR software and hardware partners together, had a good handful of partners at CES 2015, and 13 more have been announced today. The new partners include Jaunt -- a maker of cinematic VR experiences that already has apps for Google Cardboard -- plus a few game developers, audio and interface accessory companies.

What's new to the fold? Let's break it down by category.

3DRudder, Cyberith, SoftKinetic and Tactical Haptics make accessories and interfaces: foot-controlled 3D navigation, a free-moving "locomotion device," camera-sensing 3D hand-tracking and haptic game controllers, respectively. VR Union is a company focusing on VR hardware for businesses and professionals.

Impulsonic, Sonic VR and VisiSonics all focus on 3D sound technology: Impulsonic and ViviSonics create 3D audio technology for immersive games, while Sonic VR also works on object-based sound solutions for headphones and peripherals.

Jaunt, Lucidspace and VR Bits are content and simulation companies promising immersive content and virtual worlds in various forms.

Tammeka Games and Pixel Titans are game developers creating Radial-G: Racing Revolved, a future Steam-released VR racing game timed for the OSVR hardware development kit launch in June, and Strafe, a retro shooter.

OSVR's website is also accepting applications for a new OSVR Academia Program, which will give 10 headsets and access to OSVR source code to eligible universities pledging to set up VR labs.

Giving away VR headsets and code is a smart touch, and these new partners join a growing list of OSVR supporters. It's hard to assess which virtual reality technologies, apps and software will be the most essential and helpful, but it looks like OSVR's approach is to try it all.

It's a wild west for VR right now, and between Oculus Rift and Gear VR, OSVR, augmented-reality via Microsoft HoloLens and possible future initiatives from Google, things are getting exciting. That's what might make OSVR a pretty fun place to play, too, if you're a developer, but all these platforms may not necessarily play nicely with each other.

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