Razer's handing open-source VR kits to more than 20 education labs

Razer's entry into virtual reality may not be as ballsy as HTC's or Samsung's, but it could be just as important. Back in January the gaming manufacturer revealed Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), a project that offers a hardware design and software framework that anyone can build VR devices and apps from. Today, OSVR is announcing that more than 20 higher education facilities will join the initiative and be provided with development kits and the necessary support to create new experiences and hardware.

The move is part of OSVR Academia, which looks to involve educational labs and research facilities in the open-source VR movement. Speaking on today's announcement, Aaron Westre of the Virtual Reality Design Lab at the University of Minnesota said there's a "need to integrate new hardware devices and software techniques as soon as they're available. The modular architecture of OSVR offers us an efficient platform to increase our agility and invent new VR experiences for users."

OSVR isn't only backed by Razer. Motion-tracking firm Leap Motion is also involved -- and the pair are collaborating on new hardware -- as is game-engine maker Unity and developer Gearbox Software. For those not part of a research team, both the hardware schematics and related software are available at OSVR's website. As it's open-source, they're both provided free of charge.