Now you too can immerse yourself in augmented realty thanks to a promising new headset designed to be priced at $99.
A startup is making a wireless, see-through augmented-reality headset powered by the iPhone that it will sell for $99—a move that may pique the interest of programmers and early adopters who are curious about mixing digital objects with the real world but don’t want to pony up for pricier headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens.
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The headset, made by Mira, is like an AR version of Samsung’s Gear VR, which gives users a virtual-reality experience when they insert one of a few Samsung smartphones. With Mira’s Prism headset, though, the phone is positioned away from your face, and images shown on its display—one for each eye, as with stereoscopic 3-D for virtual reality—reflect off a clear lens and into your eyes so you perceive virtual objects at depth in front of you.
Sensors on the iPhone allow the headset to track the rotation of your head, and an included remote control tracks hand rotation and acceleration, so it can be used as a laser gun, wand, and so on.
Mira plans to start taking developers’ orders for the headset on Tuesday and ship it in the fall, saying the device will be generally available late this year. The Los Angeles–based company hopes developers will use the company’s software developer kit to make apps for the headset and says it is already working with some content companies planning a range of games and other software.
The company got started last year, initially building prototypes with 3-D-printed parts; lenses were cut out of a kind of wall-mounted fishbowl, found on Amazon, that matched the curvature and optical properties that the founders calculated they would need. With the fishbowl prototype, Mira was able to get a $1.5 million round of seed funding led by Sequoia Capital, which it has been using to build a finished product.
Its success will depend mostly on the kind of content that developers create.