Yeah, so you've heard about how Facebook recently bought Oculus, perhaps the most high profile virtual reality company out there, for about $2 billion. But there are a number of others out there working on virtual and augmented reality projects. For this week's awesome stuff
post about interesting crowdfunding projects, we thought we'd look at a few projects that seem more geared towards mainstreaming this technology.
- First up, we've got the Altergaze -- which might also be described as the poor man's Oculus Rift. It's a 3D printed (and it looks it) contraption for holding your mobile phone, and having an Oculus Rift-like virtual reality experience for a less money. The video clips of people reacting to it are fantastic.
The project is based out of the UK, so the pricing is in £s. If you're willing to do some self-assembly, it'll run you just £50, but can run up to £100 or more if you want an assembled version. The project is designed to be open source hardware, so if you've got your own 3D printer (and access to the right lenses) you could conceivably try to build your own. This project is about halfway to its £50,000 goal after just a day or so. With nearly a month left it'll fly past that goal.
- Next up, we've got the Rescape, which creates an augmented reality/virtual reality game on a mobile phone. It uses a funky "game controller," which is more or less a device to make you feel like you're holding a gun in a first person shooter, and which holds your phone on top, through which you can view the game. Tough to describe in words, easy to understand if you watch the video. Basically, it puts you live inside a first person shooter, using your mobile phone, even clothing other "players" in military outfits or whatever. If you ever wanted to "live" in a first person shooter, rather than just watching one on a TV or computer screen, check it out.
This one seems a bit pricey, as you'll have to shell out over $100 for just a single "controller," and that's probably not nearly as fun as having a few in order to play with friends. While this looks like quite a lot of fun, they're having trouble attracting buyers. With just over a week to go, they're only around 20% of their $150,000 goal.
- Finally, this last one may be my favorite of the bunch, in part because the Matt Hat makes no effort at all to hide the fact that this is not a consumer product, was started entirely as a joke, but since people seemed interested in it, he'd toss it up on Kickstarter. Basically, it's an attempt to create a DIY augmented reality heads up display, a la a Google Glass, but rather than something like Glass, this is just taking an old baseball cap, a visor and a smartphone -- and then patching it all together. It looks terrible, and the guy behind it doesn't hide that at all. Also, assembling it yourself is required (even though he'll include a baseball cap in the package -- though no indication what kind). That involves cutting a hole in the cap, some rubber bands and a variety of other random things. As Matt himself notes, this is functional, not fashionable. The video showing you how to put it together yourself is fantastic.
This one will run you about $50 Australian, which is about $46 US. Even so, not too many people are going for it. At the time writing this it has just 5 backers after a few days of being live. That's not going to get Matt anywhere near his $50,000 goal. I haven't decided to support this one yet, but there's something tempting about it. For all the talk of people reacting to "Glassholes," I'm really curious how people walking down the street would respond to this monstrosity.
That's it for this week. Go enjoy some real reality.