After finding out that his 58mm IPD didn’t quite jive with the Oculus Rift’s default 64mm spacing, Barry Hill decided to do something about it. He’s now working on a 3D printed Oculus Rift IPD adapter to change the Oculus Rift’s IPD, which you’ll be able to order with a custom IPD of your choice. We’ve got our hands on a prototype to see how they work.

While the average IPD (interpupillary distance, the distance between your eyes) is somewhere in the neighborhood of 64mm, there are those with an IPD significantly far away from that average. For these people, using the Rift is less comfortable and potentially more blurry, owed to a number of factors caused by the Oculus Rift’s lenses not being centered with their eyes.

After developing a DIY guide to adjusting the Oculus Rift’s IPD, Barry Hill is going one step further. He’s developing 3D printed adapters for the Oculus Rift that can be customized to any IPD between 60mm and 70mm (for those even further outside that range, Hill says that the closer you can get, the more it will improve the image for you, even if it isn’t your exact IPD).

Hill, who has a 58mm IPD, says that “it’s amazing how much better it looks now for me,” when using the adapter.

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And they may be able to more than just change the IPD. For one, Hill could customize the VR-Gear IPD Adjuster to fit any prescription level between the Oculus Rift’s A, B, and C cups. For those that may have scratched one of their lenses, an adapter with no change in IPD could be used to adapt a B or C lens to the same focus level of a scratched A lens (or a C lens to the same level as a scratched B lens), thus providing an easy replacement.

The unit, which he’s calling the VR-Gear IPD Adater, will be made available for purchase — printed and sent straight to your home via Shapeways.

Hill is still finalizing the VR-Gear IPD Adapter prototype, but he expects to have it ready for sale in the near future. You can sign up to be notified of when it’s available here.

He was kind enough to send us a prototype of the VR-Gear IPD Adapter to have a look at. The design is akin to two slightly offset circles on top of one another. When attached to the Rift, they shift the lenses 5mm closer together, thus reducing the IPD.

The printing from Shapeways was good enough that I had no issue fitting the lenses into the adapters and the adapters into the Oculus Rift. Hill is continuing to tweak the design for durability and as snug a fit as he can manage.


While my IPD is right near the average (63mm) I had a friend with a 58mm IPD try the 60mm VR-Gear IPD Adapter.

My friend, who may not have been the best subject as he wears glasses and has an astigmatism, told me that his eyes felt less strain with the VR-Gear IPD Adapter and that things might have been clearer, though he wasn’t wearing his glasses during the test. Conversely, with my nearly average IPD, wearing the Oculus Rift with the VR-Gear IPD Adapter added strain to my eyes, as though they were trying harder to align the images — I imagine it’s the same feeling people get whenever they use the Rift with a significantly out of range IPD.

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Hill he acknowledges that changing the Oculus Rift’s IPD can introduce distortion and convergence issues. “For me it is still more comfortable than the blur associated with the lenses in the default position,” he said. He says that he’ll outline the potential drawbacks to make sure those interested in the VR-Gear IPD Adapter are aware of them.

The issues are caused by the lenses no longer perfectly aligning with the software-distorted output displayed on the Oculus Rift’s screen. This can be fixed through software, but a lens separation option would need to be exposed by developers. Half-Life 2 already has such an option, and it is planned to be added to Minecrift, the Oculus Rift Minecraft mod.

We’re keeping a close eye on Hill’s VR-Gear IPD Adapter and will be sure to let you know when you can get one of your own!

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  • Stirda

    I don’t get it. Why not just use the IPD software setting/calibration provided by the official Oculus configuration tool packed in the SDK ?

    • Ben Lang

      Thanks for this comment, I totally forgot to address that in the article. Software based IPD correction can only get you so far. At a point, physical changes in lens separation are needed for those with outlying IPD.

    • crim3

      If your IPD is not about 64 mm then you are not looking through the center of the lenses and the image get blurry and distorted.

    • Stirda

      So, software IPD setting is useless if I don’t own this additional piece of hardware ? Why Oculus VR seems to talk about software IPD calibration as an out-of-the-box solution ?

      • Mageoftheyear

        I’m pretty sure (can’t give you a quote) that they’ve mentioned a few times what their software IPD range catered for is.
        If you’d like an easy way to measure your IPD (this sounds fun, going to go try it now) you can try this:

        • Stirda

          You mean that applying an offset on rendered images based on IPD setting in user profile is useless ? Unity doesn’t apply such an offset automatically ?

          • crim3

            Ideally the center of your pupil, the center of the lens and the center of the image should all match. As the Rift DK doesn’t have IPD adjustment they set the lenses apart with the average IPD so most people will be in a mostly perfect situation.
            In my opinion, the consumer version will surely have this adjustment so you can adjust both (physical and software) for the best experience.

          • Stirda

            I’d like to test it to understand the difference between the two.

          • brantlew

            User IPD settings are used to adjust the virtual cameras (giving the user accurate scene scale) but not to offset the rendered projection. The Rift lenses project collimated light which means that as the eye moves laterally, light originating from the central axis will always get projected straight into the eye. So in theory you should be able to move your eye around the lens and the image will look the same and thus no offset to the rendering projection need be applied. In practice, imperfections of the lens only allow movement over a central sub-region of the lens. Thus people with outlying IPDs still experience some blurring and distortion. Moving the physical lenses without moving the projection center can counteract the distortion, but also forces the user to converge/diverge their eyes to focus properly. It can work but is non-optimal. Maybe in the future, users will be able to override/hack the reported lens separation value in order to correctly correctly render for modded lenses.