The Traveling VR Developer

When one says “Virtual Reality developer”, you might imagine a large open space, tracking units mounted to the ceiling, and a massive PC with cables strewn everywhere around it…and you’d have been right just a few years ago. Now, super-powerful laptops and compact systems like the HTC Vive make development possible even in some of the most unlikely of locations.

As the VR Lead for SeeSaw Labs, I can’t (and would never want to) take a break from working on our latest Lab; however, summer is made for travel, so on my next domestic trip, I gave it a go and packed everything up into my carry-on suitcase. Surprisingly, I was able to fit the entire setup in just a third of my smallest suitcase. Setting things up in a friend’s small NYC apartment took a little creativity, but was totally doable!

Trial-run under my belt, I’ve spent the past two months traveling and working from Europe; setting everything up has now become a breeze, but here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Find a small bag to contain everything within your suitcase. This makes swapping from suitcase to bag to closet to drawer much, much easier without worrying about losing anything
  2. Pack a cloth to clean the lenses inside the headset to protect them.
  3. Invest in cable management (seriously, wrapping the cables around the boxes isn’t a solution).
  4. The Vive Lighthouse mounts make great stands (especially if you put them on top of a bookshelf).
  5. You can clamp the Lighthouse mounts to just about anything. All you need are a few of those small hand clamps you can get at the hardware store
  6. None of the Vive equipment requires a 110 to 220 step up (but don’t forget converters).
  7. Plan for hot weather. AC isn’t really a thing in Europe, so on hot days I had to plan to work early in the morning or at night to avoid running my laptop too hot.

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