The latest innovation from Merge Virtual Reality may be called a “toy” but it utilizes augmented reality (AR) technology to allow users to hold and interact with holograms. The HoloCube was first unveiled at CES in January and was one of the highlights of our visit to Toy Fair in New York City last month.
The HoloCube is, when viewed without the benefit of AR glasses, a simple box about 2 inches square with detailed patterns on each face. Using augmented reality glasses and the HoloCube application, the cube is replaced with anything the developer can imagine. When looking at the HoloCube through the AR application, the box is replaced by a 3D model that synchronizes with the faces of the HoloCube allowing the user to rotate or pulling the virtual object close to look at details, just as if it were real. The HoloCube is not yet available to order; subscribers to Merge VR’s email newsletter will get the first announcement of its availability.
Using the HoloCube requires a headset capable of augmented reality, meaning it can overlay the virtual images over a live image of what is in front of it – specifically, it needs access to a front-mounted camera. The VR Goggles from Merge VR meet that requirement and much more – accepting both iOS and Android devices with adjustable lenses with a very uncommon feature. The headset has a removable piece that gives the camera on the rear of common smartphones a clear view of the world in front of the user.
The Merge VR Goggles have another unique feature: the body of the headset is made of a very durable foam material, providing incredible drop protection for the device inside. The soft foam also allows the headset to fit to the contours of the user’s face improving both comfort and the VR experience. The VR headset is available now in a wide variety of colors for only $59.99 on in the Merge VR shop (direct link).
Merge VR has another innovation on track, the first universal motion controller for mobile virtual reality. Code-named “Moonshot”, the controller is compatible with existing iOS and Android devices as well as with Unity and Web VR systems. Moonshot is not quite ready for consumer release yet, but the software developers’ kit (SDK) is available now and developers can learn more and sign up for the waiting list today at www.dev.mergevr.com.
The incredible family of products from Merge VR are designed to make virtual reality accessible to users age 10 and up, making them perfect for introducing users to virtual and augmented reality while still being powerful enough to feature the latest cutting-edge technology.