Zappar has launched the Kickstarter for its affordable room-scale MR and VR mobile headset, ZapBox. Similar to Google Cardboard headset solutions, users will download a free app to browse and experience ZapBox content, as well as build a map of the ‘pointcodes’ placed around the room. The ZapBox launch is supported by Zappar’s content authoring platform, ZapWorks, where users can build, preview and share their content through the ZapBox app. The product will cost $30.
The cardboard headset is designed to combine the power of existing smartphones with simple physical components at a much lower price than existing solutions.
ZapBox will come with ‘Pointcode’ markers that attach to surfaces around the room to enable the ZapBox app to track the user’s position. ZapBox’s cardboard controllers are also trackable whilst visible to the phone’s camera, allowing them to function as the user’s main way to interact with virtual content. To help improve the immersion and impact of experiences, ZapBox will also come with a lens adapter that greatly increases the field of view of a smartphone’s camera.
Pre-made experiences that backers can try out with their headset include ZapBrush, Mini-golf, a dancing mini-game, Xylophone and Explore Mars.
ZapBox will also be fully open to developers through ZapWorks, Zappar’s content creation platform. Personal usage of the platform is free, whilst commercial usage will cost either $45 per month for a basic package allowing use of Widgets and Designer tools, or $135 per month for a pro package to access the entire suite, allowing for more advanced AR, VR and MR experience creation.
The $30 price includes the headset, controllers, pointcodes, the lens adapter, and shipping. If we compare that to the likes of the Hololens, Microsoft’s upcoming MR headset, which will cost $3000, ZapBox’s potential impact on the climate of the MR market becomes immediately apparent. 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.”