AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) firm Zappar has launched the ZapBox, a $30 (around £25) mixed-reality (MR) headset that has its sights set firmly on Microsoft's HoloLens.
At 25 quid, the ZapBox doesn't have all of the bells and whistles seen on Microsoft's AR headset, but the firm claimed that, unlike HoloLens, it's the first device that makes mixed-reality accessible and affordable for all.
Caspar Thykier, Zappar CEO and co-founder, said: "Here at Zappar, our goal has always been to make AR, VR and now MR available to everyone.
"We've worked tirelessly to ensure all elements of ZapBox, from app to cardboard components, are simple and affordable but most importantly deliver awe-inspiring experiences. This all started when we said to ourselves: 'Could we make Magic Leap, Magic Cheap?’ ZapBox is our answer to that question."
ZapBox comprises a cardboard headset, cardboard controllers, a set of 'pointcodes' and a companion app.
This app displays a live feed from your smartphone’s camera, and overlays virtual objects using the bundled pointcodes - markers that you attach to surfaces so that ZapBox can work out your position in the room.
They'll be a bunch of bundled experiences at launch, including a painting app for creating doodles in 3D space, a mini-golf game, a xylophone, a Mars exploration experience and a dancing mini-game described as "Wii Fit meets brain training."
ZapBox is also fully open to developers, and Zappar is giving backers full access to Zappar's SDK, ZapWorks, which is designed to allow everyone from hobbyists to professional designers to create content for ZapBox.
"Using our ZapWorks platform we’re empowering the creative community so they can make their own experiences and easily share them with ZapBox users, straight into the ZapBox app - there’s no need to submit and manage separate app submissions for each piece of content," the firm said.
ZapBox supports most smartphones, but recommends a screen of at least 4.5in with a resolution of 720p. It works with the iPhone 6 and above (excluding the iPhone SE), and work with Android devices running Android 4.1 or later.
ZapBox is available to back on Kickstarter, with limited early bird pledge levels starting from $25, which includes a cardboard headset, handheld controllers and pointcodes, ready for delivery by 20 March. The firm is looking to reach $30,000 in funding. µ
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