Disclaimer: All information provided on this site is publicly available.

The OpenGear Project

GearVR™ compatible HMD for rapid App Development

Start development now and build your own OpenGear! OpenGear is meant for developers to get a head start in GearVR™ development without waiting for it to be available in their country.


[December 19, 2014] Rev VR Podcast (Ep.88): Introducing OpenGear, A Gear VR Alternative, By Developer Mark Schramm

As a developer, one of the most difficult challenges is getting your hands on the actual hardware you are developing for. Samsung’s Gear VR is slowly trickling out to non-US countries, but it may be months before some folks see it. What if there was a cheap, easily built alternative? Now there is, and Mark Schramm is making it happen. Read Full article at RoadToVR.com


Open Source

OpenGear is completely open source. We believe an open developer alternative will make it possible for everyone to create enticing content, even without having the consumer hardware.

Easy to Build

It is very easy and cheap to build an OpenGear yourself. Scroll down to find detailed instructions or register your interest in a pre-built kit.

SDK Compatible

OpenGear works with the current Oculus Mobile SDK 0.4.0. However, we cannot guarantee that Oculus won't change this in the future.

Not a GearVR™ Clone, but something to start with

OpenGear emulates a compatible head tracker and can be used with any GearVR™ app (at the time of writing).

This means you can test your own app, use Oculus Home, browse and download new apps from within OpenGear and even enable the pass-through mode.


OpenGear does not seem to trigger the switch into the low persistence mode of the screen correctly (even though it should).
We are working on enabling Low Persistence at the moment.

The tracker has a much lower update frequency. You wouldn't get the buttery smooth 1000Hz of the real thing, but it is enough for app testing. We have also experienced a bit of drift, but much less than we encountered on Cardboard apps.

OpenGear does not have a touchpad, mainly for the reason to keep cost down. However, you can use any Bluetooth mouse or touchpad for the same functionality.

1. Modify your App

A small modification to the manifest file of your app is necessary in order to be run outside of Oculus Home.

2. Build the Hardware

Build your OpenGear - it is cheap and easy.

3. Test Away

It won't be like the real thing, but it will enable you to test your app.

Building your own OpenGear

Materials you need

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Since OpenGear emulates a compatible tracker, it relies on the underlying software. You will need a GearVR™ compatible Note4 phone with the latest updates for OpenGear to work.


This board contains the IMU and has been used in many DIY Rift projects. We will be using this board to emulate a DK1 tracker, which is compatible with the current mobile SDK.

Male Micro USB to Male Mini USB cable

We have to connect the IMU with the phone via this cable. If you prefer a more modular solution, just go with an USB Host cable and a standard Mini USB cable.

Cardboard, Lenses and a Head Strap

You can either build your own headset or reuse parts of other devices. Our prototype uses: a DK1 Headstrap assembly, DK2 B Lenses and a Google Cardboard

Step 1 - Modify your App

For GearVR™ apps to run outside of Oculus Home, two things are necessary:

You will need a valid Oculus Signature file, which you can get from here.

And you will have to modify your AndroidManifest.xml file.
Change vr_only to vr_dual
and android.intent.category.INFO to android.intent.category.LAUNCHER.
This will enable your app to be launched via the Android Homescreen/Appdrawer.

Build it and you are ready to go. You can even test your performance right now, just without head tracking.

Step 2 - Build your OpenGear

The concept behind OpenGear is very simple:
If you plug a DK1 into a Note4 via an USB Host cable, it recognizes it as a valid tracker and will enable head tracking.

We will be using a STM32F3 DISCOVERY board as a DK1 replacement.

Follow this tutorial to flash the STM32F3 DISCOVERY board with the new firmware.

Build your Case/Phoneholder. We will be releasing Note4 compatible cutting templates soon.

Step 3 - Test Away

You are now ready to test your app!

But why stop here? You just build a GearVR™ compatible device. Launch Oculus Video 360 (which comes with it's own icon ont he Android Homescreen).

Connect a bluetooth mouse to your Note4. The Left mouse button will be the tap, the right mouse button will be the back key. You can even drag the mouse to emulate the swipes.

Long press the right mouse button to go to the config menu. You can enable passhtrough mode or even start Oculus Home from there!

OpenGear "Midnight Sun" Development Kit

Right here we've got something you gonna love

Pre-Assembled Kit

We understand that many developers are great at software but don't necessarily want to get their hands dirty in hardware.

We are still evaluating the possibility of offering a pre-assembled development kit dubbed "Midnight Sun".

The Midnight Sun development kit will consist of
a Google Cardboard with a headstrap and enough space to fit a Note4,
as well as the pre-flashed IMU attached to the front and an USB cable.

We will sell this kit at cost. We won't earn any money from it.

Register your Interest

If you are interested in a Midnight Sun kit, please register your interest in the following from. Thank you!

Got a Question?

Get in touch with us


The OpenGear Project has been initiated by Mark Schramm
Visit us at VR Bits to see more cool stuff.

All registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Copyright © 2014 The OpenGear Project. All Rights Reserved.