Open-source development is happening everywhere, and VR is no exception. Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) is a software project that wants to free VR development from its hardware and software constraints and allow developers to create completely hardware-agnostic VR content. (Nvidia is among OSVR's partners.) On the software front, the open source VR landscape offers OpenVR, an SDK and API developed by video game company Valve for supporting its own SteamVR runtime for the HTC Vive headset. OpenVR's API is based in C++, but plugins allow for the integration of Unity and Unreal.
Enterprise developers should take note, however, that Steam—the marketplace for distributing SteamVR content—is known primarily for gaming. So it may be difficult to distribute an enterprise application this way.
On the hardware end, OSVR has partnered with Maryland-based Sensics, a manufacturer of consumer, professional, and military-grade VR headsets, to release a “hacker development kit” (HDK). According to OSVR, the HDK is an open headset (though full hardware schematics and firmware source files have not been released yet). It will give developers access to OSVR's open-source ecosystem of VR hardware and software. The latest version, the HDK 2 (shown above), features a 2160 x 1200-pixel dual-display technology (1080 x 1200 pixels per eye) running at 90 frames per second. Right now, the HDK is a tethered PC-based headset along the lines of the Oculus Rift and HTC. So unless a mobile version is released, this may not be an attractive option for mobile developers or those looking toward creating experience for next-generation hardware with inside-out tracking and 6DoF.
However, for enterprise developers that find open source a more attractive option, OpenVR represents one of the most popular options right now outside of Vive's Open Wave SDK.
(Image source: OSVR)