In 2016, Augmented reality (AR) firm Zappar launched the ZapBox, an entry-level cardboard headset. Today, Zappar unveiled the Kickstarter campaign for the “all-new ZapBox”, an “awesome mixed reality (MR)” headset for only $40.
The original ZapBox was launched in order to allow entry-level developers to create Mixed Reality or Virtual Reality experiences. The “all-new ZapBox is a revolutionary step in Zappar's mission to bring affordable Mixed Reality to the mass market,” states the Kickstarter page.
The all-new ZapBox debuts with a new, high quality plastic form factor - a vast improvement from the original cardboard design. The form factor was designed from the ground up and crafted to be compatible with existing smartphones. These updates will allow the headset to be “suitable for the mass market whilst maintaining an unprecedented price point.”
The all-new ZapBox is designed for Mixed Reality (MR) experiences, offering "an almost uninterrupted peripheral view of the real world that naturally blends into the immersive content displayed in front of the user is 3D." Furthermore, the device's set-up allows for "fully opaque content" and "true blacks" - maintaining an immersive experience while keeping users alert and aware of the real world around them.
The package also comes with a pair of all-new 6-DoF controllers, which feature a slimmer profile and most robust world-tracking.
It’ll also be easier than ever to develop on the platform: “A Unity plugin will enable developers to build native iOS or Android apps with their own ZapBox content," the Kickstarter reads. "Content can also be created with Zappar’s dedicated ZapWorks Studio tool and viewed instantly in the ZapBox app.”
There is also a “Developer Bundle” pledge level which will grant you access to “early access to beta versions of the ZapBox SDK for Unity and original cardboard ZapBoxes so developers will be able to get a head start on bringing their content to ZapBox.”
The all-new ZapBox has launched with a funding goal of $65,000. The device will support all iPhones as well as recent Samsung S-series and Google Pixel smartphones.
The single unit pledge costs $40 and is available here. It might be a good idea, too, in light of Facebook's recent bad news about the Oculus Quest 2.