When Oculus first released Virtual reality headsets it took the industry by storm, many companies created and branded their own version of virtual reality headsets. But, it didn’t penetrate the whole market as it was a bit expensive for most people and also the amount of interactive contents available for the headsets at that time was very less. Then came Google and introduced Google cardboard which was a several times cheaper than an commercial headsets in the market. Though it wasn’t as immersive as the commercial ones, it was affordable and allowed anyone with a smart phone to access virtual reality content. It also gave developers the opportunity to contribute to virtual reality.
Again last year 2016, Microsoft announced an another game changing product called Hololens that uses augmented reality. Hololens is so visually compelling that it has a lot of consumers and hungry developers waiting in queue to get their hands on the product. But once again the product is a bit too pricey for normal enthusiasts to get their hands on. Now we have a new manufacturer which has brought a cheap version of augmented reality headset priced around at 33 dollars.
It was developed by a team of five industrial design students from the University of Twente in the Netherlands who were not satisfied with the cost of high-end AR, nor the cheaper experiences available for phones.
The Netherlands-based startup launched their Kickstarter campaign Monday (May 29) and the campaign has already surpassed its funding goal. The company expects to ship units to backers in September.
Much like the Google Cardboard virtual reality kits, Aryzon ships to users a DIY kit, costing just $30. Once assembled, users simply affix their iPhone or Android device into the allotted slot.
According to Ceha, the Aryzon could appeal to educators, healthcare workers, product marketers, game designers, and engineers who use computer-aided design (CAD). The team plans to make the Aryzon’s software and design available through an open source platform, so that anyone can improve upon it.
“We don’t have a patent on the design,” Ceha said. “We want everyone to help us make it better, make a better experience.”
In its current stage of development, the Aryzon comes flat-packed in a box about 13-by-7 inches. Inside are several components, including the cardboard frame for the goggles, a mirror, stereoscopic fresnel lenses, and a combiner glass. An accompanying app explains how to assemble the headset and also gives access to different games and experiences.
A disc, called a target image, that comes with the device serves as a surface to view the AR images. But any object can serve as a target image, including a dollar bill or a computer tablet. It just has to be programmed into the app. The target image is important because some smartphones don’t have a built-in gyroscope to track the phone’s — and therefore the user’s —movement in relationship to the image.
“We didn’t want to cut off a whole bunch of smartphone users,” Ceha said.
Using Aryzon is pretty straightforward. After choosing from a list of viewing options in the app, the person puts the phone in the slot at the front of the headset with the screen facing in. The software in the app works with the phone’s camera to locate the target disc out in front. Meanwhile, the phone displays the augmented reality videos or pictures toward the inside of the goggles. The images get reflected by the mirror into the lenses, where they’re split and recombined into a stereoscopic view that produces the illusion of 3D objects on the disc.
Users have the option of viewing content from the app or uploading their own 3D images, such as CAD models. To interact with 3D objects, a user presses virtual buttons, which are essentially predefined regions on the target image, but the team is exploring adding hand gestures too.