Zappar builds $40 mobile mixed reality headset

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Zappar has built an affordable mobile mixed reality headset for content creators and developers to explore the possibilities of immersive experiences 

Quick read

➨ ZapBox will be available for just $40 and is designed to deliver mixed reality and virtual reality experiences using existing smartphones
➨ Zappar has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the device, setting a goal of $65,000
➨ Zappar has developed a Unity plugin that will enable creators and developers to build native iOS or Android apps with their own ZapBox content

The story

Zappar, the UK-based augmented reality platform and creative studio for mobile and web apps, has created an affordable mobile mixed reality headset.

ZapBox will be available for just $40 and is designed to deliver mixed reality and virtual reality experiences using existing smartphones. A pair of 6DoF controllers are also included.

Zappar has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the device, setting a goal of $65,000. Pledges of $40 will secure a single ZapBox, while a 10-pack is available at $299, or the same as a single Oculus Quest 2.

The initial cardboard iteration of ZapBox also launched on Kickstarter back in 2016. That device raised 280% of its funding goal thanks to the support of 1,854 backers.

The aim of the new ZapBox is to enable content creators and developers to be able to explore the possibilities of immersive 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) mixed and virtual reality experiences, “without the high cost of entry for dedicated hardware”, according to Simon Taylor, co-founder and chief research and development officer at Zappar.

Zappar has developed a Unity plugin that will enable creators and developers to build native iOS or Android apps with their own ZapBox content. Content can also be created with Zappar’s dedicated ZapWorks Studio tool and viewed in the ZapBox app.

Taylor said: “ZapBox offers a great balance between affordability and capability that lets Unity and ZapWorks users create the impactful experiences they want.”


ZapBox features

➨ A light and robust headset that is easily adjustable for different users and provides peripheral vision of the real world for comfortable mixed and virtual reality experiences

➨ The lens shape removes the border of your device from your field of vision, meaning your peripheral vision outside the phone screen and the content you’re seeing on screen blend seamlessly together

➨ Live-hinged phone grips ensure your phone is held securely and centrally in place for the optimal stereoscopic experience, supporting a wide range of different device sizes

➨ A slim profile and visual tracking scheme streamlines the look of the controllers while providing 6DoF tracking

➨ World anchors provide instant content placement and drift-free tracking, and other natural visual features in your environment are used for tracking stability

➨ Device support for ZapBox will include all iPhones from the iPhone 6S and newer and recent Samsung S-series and Google Pixel smartphones


Caspar Thykier, co-founder and chief executive officer at Zappar, said: “ZapBox takes everything we’ve learnt over the last five years to create the ultimate way for people to experience and build compelling interactive MR and VR content, and offers unbeatable value at just $40”

“As a business we’ve always focused on democratising XR for the mass market and all-new ZapBox is more evidence of our commitment to deliver against that promise.”

What do you think of ZapBox? Can this kind of low-cost mobile solution remove traditional entry barriers to immersive technology? Let VRWorldTech know via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or editor@vrworldtech.com.

Main image: ZapBox from Zappar

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