StereoView 2020 - The world's "oldest" VR Headset

Get the files on Thingiverse. Skip to 12:49 to see the VR in action.


Here's the bolts I used:


I collect stereoviews, an old form of 3d photography. They are a pair of images that when placed into a viewer allow one to look at a three dimensional photograph. This is achieved by simultaneously taking 2 photographs at the same time with the only difference between the two being that the cameras are placed a couple of inches apart (the same distance apart as ones eyes). This is usually done with a specialized camera.

Stereoviews were really popular during the 1900's and tons of 3d images were captured and sold during this time. If you owned a stereoviewer (or sometimes called a stereoscope) you basically had the equivalent of a 1900's Oculus Rift. The whole thing is super interesting and it allows you to take a look back in time like you were actually there. I love it.

The original goal of this piece was so that I could use my phone to download stereoviews and look at them the way they were intended to be seen... in stereo. Then I quickly realized that this same design would allow me to use google cardboard apps/any VR video as well. I like the idea of using something so old with such a new technology. So I was wondering what it would take to turn an antique stereoviewer from the 1900's into a full fledged VR headset for our current times. The concept is the same, the only thing I needed to do was figure out how to get a phone to sit nicely on this really old wooden stereoscope.

Turns out all you need is a 3d printer, a cell phone, 2 hair ties, 2 6mm M3 bolts, and some paint. It works! I was even able to make it seem "authentic" with a little paint. In the process of making this I began to wonder, is this the world's "oldest" working VR headset? I don't know how to even begin answering that question but it's fun to think about. Prints up easy and goes together without much fiddling.

The video above is me struggling with the first iteration where I made a shim/bracket too thick and had to sand it down. I've since upgraded the model so you don't have to sand it down to make it fit! NO SUPPORTS NEEDED!

Music: Stop ( by FUGUE ):

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