Oculus Roomscale: Extra Equipment
Oculus Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
January 30, 2017

Today’s the final installment of our Oculus Roomscale* series. We’ve covered most of the really technical stuff, like sensors, USB bandwidth, and host controllers, so now we want share a few items** that can take your configuration up a notch!

Want to Wall-Mount? Here’s What You Need
Most standard setups only require the included USB 2.0 active extension cable that comes with standalone sensor purchases, but you might need additional hardware for wall-mounting or other set ups. If you want to maintain the recommended configuration of two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0, you’ll likely need to purchase active extensions of each type. Here are a few sensor cable extensions that we’ve used. Not a guarantee or endorsement that they’ll work with your setup—just a suggestion among enthusiasts!

In our experience, a few patterns emerge when it comes to selecting USB extension cables:

  1. Active extension cables tend to maintain their signal better than passive extensions, so we recommend you use them if possible.
  2. Since USB 2.0 uses less data bandwidth than USB 3.0, they often work more reliably with extension lengths 15 feet or greater. We don’t recommend any USB 3.0 extensions longer than around 15 feet.
  3. We’ve seen some instability when trying to connect four sensors on USB 3.0 on a single controller, as mentioned in our previous post, so we don’t recommend trying this configuration.

In a previous post, we covered balancing your sensors across multiple host controllers if you want to connect more than two sensors to either USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 on a given host controller. One way to work around the host controller issue is to purchase a PCI-Express USB Card with more than a single hardware controller. Some of these controllers actually allow the full theoretical 5Gbps (USB 3.0) and 480Mbps (USB 2.0) bandwidth in each port.

Here are a few USB cards we’ve used with reasonable success:

Four Controllers (One Per Port. Requires placement in x4 or x16 PCI-E slot)

Two Controllers (One Per Two Ports)

One Controller (One Across Four Ports)

Note that the cards with two and four controllers should be able to handle most sensor configurations, across both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. For the card with only one controller, you’ll have to balance across USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Also, make sure you’re connecting these to full PCI-E 2.0 x4 slots or x16 slots (the longest secondary slot sometimes used for another video card). Some motherboards may share bandwidth across x1 and x4 slots, which means the x4 slot needs to be configured to run in x4 mode (rather than the default x1 mode). If needed, you can configure these settings by entering your BIOS or UEFI settings menu when booting your computer. You can typically find this information in the manual for your motherboard.

HMD Cable Extensions for Large Rooms
Want to expand your setup to a room larger than the recommended size? Is your PC stuck in an odd position? You might find that the default Rift cable is too short to reach the corners of your play area. If so, you can try using USB 3.0 and HDMI extension cables to get a longer Rift cable.

That said, we didn’t specifically design the Rift cable to work well beyond the default 12-foot length, so your mileage may vary if you decide to extend it. We’ve done limited testing with extensions up to 6 feet and have noticed it generally works well for the machines and hardware we tested. Here are some 6-foot extension options we’ve tried:

Sensor Mounts for Corner Placement
Some setups will benefit from mounting your Oculus Sensors to your walls—like some of our advanced sensor setups. Luckily the Oculus Sensor actually supports a standard tripod mount! If you unscrew the top of your sensor from the base, you can connect it to any compatible tripod mount. If you search for “wall tripod mount” in marketplaces like Amazon, you should come up with a number of options to try.

Alternatively, one fun experiment is to design and 3D-print your own mounts to fit your needs. You’ll want to know what you’re doing for this to be a viable option, so we don’t recommend trying this if you aren’t experienced in designing for and using 3D printed items.

If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, services like shapeways.com print custom files for a fee.

Thanks for your enthusiasm for Oculus roomscale. We can’t wait for more people to try out new configurations!

— The Oculus Team

*Roomscale is an optional feature. Your results and performance may vary. Not all PCs will have enough ports to support roomscale, including some PCs that otherwise meet our recommended and minimum specs.

**Non-Oculus equipment/service references are not recommendations, guarantees, or endorsements of products or performance. Your results may vary. These are instead options to vary your own customized experiences. Furthermore, incorrect installation or use of any products or items can damage your computer, space, or otherwise impact performance. If you’re not experienced or qualified to do so yourself, please seek assistance.