Well, that was quick…
*UPDATE [7.3.2019]*: It appears as though the GitHub link leading to the files has been restored!
Last week Valve’s high-end PC VR headset, the Valve Index, officially began shipping to customers eager to step into the generation of VR technology. In an effort to encourage modders and hardware experts to develop their own proprietary accessories for the device, thereby expanding the headset’s capabilities while simultaneously establishing itself as developer-friendly open source hardware, Valve released CAD components of the powerful PC VR headset to the public this morning, allowing creators to begin modifying the primary components of the device.
However, shortly after the public release, the link leading to the GitHub repository which contained the “inclusion zone” models has since become inactive, leading visitors to an Error 404 page as opposed to the extensive blueprints. It’s unclear at this time why the CAD files were made inaccessible and whether or not they will be made public again.
Those lucky enough to swoop in before the purge are now sitting on a collection of high-resolution STP files, low-resolution STL files to quickly view and explore, and dimensioned drawings of relevant geometry. Put simply, creators have access to the core blueprints of the Valve Index’s three primary components: the controllers, the headset, and the base stations.
Of course, the headsets customizable “frunk” will most likely be the highlight for many modders. Featuring a USB 3 type A port and a removable translucent front plate, the frunk opens up various exciting opportunities for enhancement, whether it be an additional hand-tracking sensor, higher quality forward-facing cameras, or even a simple LED display, such as the one featured below.
“If your creation attaches elsewhere, we recommend routing the USB cable directly out the side towards the eye-relief adjustment knob in order to minimize the chance of occlusion,” warned Valve in an official statement. “We strongly recommend against removing the frunk plastic, as it can impact your sensor calibration and will void a warranty you may otherwise enjoy. Anything that requires a T5 or smaller is not user serviceable.”
If you have no plans of utilizing any of the technology found in the frunk, feel free to experiment with new types of visors and attachments using the fours magnetic attach points located around the visor; an excellent opportunity for immersive arcades and location-based VR providers looking to add a little more flair to their physical installations.
Developers can also detach the headsets built-in audio by removing the pogo pins with a T6 Torx driver. For those interested in the Index Controllers (aka “Knuckles”), Valve included an example accessory called the Booster. This enhanced grip wraps around the body of the controller, allowing for more control during longer play sessions. This add-on is meant to serve as a reference for how to developer control accessories without interrupting any of the tracking or inputs. As for the base stations, Valve has confirmed a camera thread size of ¼”-20, the standard measurement for a majority of mounts and devices.
All of the models included in the post fall under a standard Creative Commons License, which means that while you do in fact have free reign to modify the hardware any way you’d like, you still have to go through Valve before you can begin selling any accessories or attachments.
As previously stated, there’s no word yet on whether or not these files will be made public again; we’ll remain on top of this story as it continues to develop and provide any updates as they occur.
Featured Image Credit: Valve