Saturday, 27 May 2017

Gear VR Blaster - Part 1

Despite it being quite rudimentary by modern standards, the new Gear VR motion controller adds a lot of capability as a orientation-tracked pointing device. It's particularly well suited to light-gun games, an archaic genre of game which has cutting-edge hardware to thank for its resurgence.

So why not go the whole hog, and put the controller inside a gun?

I know that's a bit fugly, but it's just a rushed prototype made out of cardboard to adjust the touch-pad placement, it'll be receiving a timber structure to house the electronics further on, and a blast of paint to tidy up the look.

So step one is to disassemble the Gear VR controller.

Once the four small Philips head screws are undone in the battery compartment, it's just a case of prying the case clips off with a small flat-head. The PCB is also fixed with small clips, and the wire traces for the touch-pad and trigger button are stuck down with double-sided LCD tape. It's a cinch.

My donor gun was a Nerf Maverick I've had kicking around the garage for a couple of years.

Now just to remove the unnecessary parts, to make room for some buttons. I'm retaining the slide mechanism on the top to be used as the home button. Just slide it back and hold to re-centre the controller in-game!

Lots of room for the buttons. One in the trigger, one in the side, and one in the black button which was previously used to release the barrel for reloading.

A little bit of carving, some inserts epoxied in, and it'll all fit like a glove!

The PCB and battery pack will be mounted in the void left by removing the barrel. I'm not sure if all of the accelerometers are on the flex cable with the buttons (leftmost portion of the flex cable at the top), so i'll also mount the pcb horizontally to maintain orientation in-game. The cavity is juuust wide enough.

The touch pad will be mounted on the left face of the barrel area, within easy reach using a two-handed grip.

Feels good, now to make it more permanent in Part 2!

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