October 7, 2020 – Zappar, a provider of a platform that allows for the creation of augmented reality (AR) experiences, has today announced its new ‘ZapBox’ solution for bringing mixed reality (MR) to the mass market. ZapBox enables content creators and developers to build immersive, 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) mixed and virtual reality (VR) experiences, and costs only USD $40.
Launching on Kickstarter today, ZapBox includes a new headset that delivers immersive MR and VR experiences using existing smartphones. According to Zappar, the headset offers an almost uninterrupted peripheral view of the real world that blends 3D immersive content displayed in front of the user into their real world view. The company added that the video-see through setup for MR allows for fully opaque content and true blacks, whilst the direct peripheral vision keeps users feeling well-connected to the real world. A pair of 6DoF controllers are also included to provide physical interactions.
A Unity plugin will enable developers to build native iOS or Android apps with their own ZapBox content. Content can also be created with Zappar’s dedicated ZapWorks Studio tool and viewed instantly in the ZapBox app.
This new version of ZapBox has been re-imagined and re-designed from the previous exploratory cardboard iterations of the product to offer a greatly improved experience and a form factor suitable for the mass market whilst maintaining a low price point.
“We wanted developers to be able to explore the possibilities of immersive 6DoF MR and VR experiences, without the high cost of entry for dedicated hardware,” said Simon Taylor, Co-Founder and Chief R&D Officer at Zappar. “All-new ZapBox offers a great balance between affordability and capability that lets Unity and ZapWorks users create the impactful experiences they want.”
All-new ZapBox features:
- New headset design: A light and robust headset that is easily adjustable for different users and provides peripheral vision of the real world for MR and VR experiences;
- New lens shape: Removes the border of the device from a user’s field of vision, meaning peripheral vision outside a smartphone screen and the content shown on screen blend seamlessly together;
- Live-hinged phone grips: Smartphones are held securely and centrally in place for the optimal stereoscopic experience, supporting a wide range of different device sizes;
- New controllers: All-new slimmer profile and visual tracking scheme that streamlines the look of the controllers whilst providing 6DoF tracking;
- World tracking: New world anchors provide instant content placement and tracking, and other natural visual features in a user’s environment are also used for improved tracking stability;
- Unity plugin: Developers can build content using the Unity game engine and publish apps for ZapBox directly to the iOS and Android app stores.
“All-new ZapBox takes everything we’ve learnt over the last five years to create the ultimate way for people to experience and build compelling interactive MR and VR content, and offers unbeatable value at just $40,” said Caspar Thykier, Co-Founder and CEO at Zappar. “As a business we’ve always focused on democratising XR for the mass market and all-new ZapBox is more evidence of our commitment to deliver against that promise.”
All-new ZapBox will launch on Kickstarter with a funding goal of USD $65,000. Backers can choose between a range of tiers to support the campaign, including a USD $40 pledge for a single unit, and a 10-pack available for USD $299. The campaign follows Zappar’s original cardboard iteration on Kickstarter in 2016, which raised 280% of its funding goal with 1,854 backers, according to the company.
Device support for the all-new ZapBox will include all iPhones from the iPhone 6S and newer and also recent Samsung S-series and Google Pixel smartphones.
For more information on Zappar and its solutions for XR, please visit the company’s website.
Image credit: Zappar