The AirVR is the goofiest goddamn thing I've seen on Kickstarter since that Potato Salad made the rounds. It's essentially a VR headset in the vein of the Oculus Rift or Sony's Morpheus, only instead of it having a built-in screen, it allows users a slot to strap a mobile device to their face.
Compatible with the iPad Mini and iPhone 6+, the AirVR and its phone-sized brethren, the AirVR+, is more than just a strap to tether your mobile device to your mug like some sort of A Clockwork Orange-esque brainwashing tool. It has its own lenses to divvy up the screen so your eyes see different images.
If it works as advertised, it's actually not a bad idea as it significantly cuts down the cost of buying a standalone VR headset. "AirVR is the most affordable way to experience the world of Virtual Reality for yourself," the developer stated on its Kickstarter page.
And it is cheap, with pre-orders starting at $49 CAD (about £27).
It's not just the screen that AirVR utilises from mobile devices, as these bring more features to the table. "The iPad Mini and iPhone 6+ include a of range sensors including GPS, digital compass, wireless networking, microphone, speakers, cameras, as well as barometer and proximity on the iPhone 6+," the developer pointed out.
"This gives AirVR high quality positional tracking capable of accurately locating a user's position and orientation within a space, while remaining mobile and low cost. And by using the camera feed, users can also see what's in front of them, opening the door for high fidelity AR applications. This level of accuracy and integration is vital for making the most immersive VR experiences possible."
As far as controlling a game goes, the AirVR leaves a little strip open along the bottom of the device, so developers can add touchscreen controls here. But you'll probably want to use a third-party controller, because the tiny touchstrip sounds limiting and cumbersome.
The AirVR may be a strange and stupid-looking device, but it's also an intriguing one. So far it's raised $7,879 CAD towards its $20K CAD goal, which isn't bad considering that it only launched its Kickstarter yesterday and has until 16th October to fund the rest.
AirVR is hoping to to start shipping its kits to backers this December and launch around February for everyone else.
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