Cell Phone Accessories Virtual Reality

Get comfy with the Viewbox neoprene virtual reality headset

If it wasn’t already apparent, virtual reality, or VR, is here to stay. Events like Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift prove exactly that. As such, the future is one where both augmented and virtual reality will be as commonplace as the smartphones and tablets are in our lives now. For now, though, the industry is still in its infancy.

Currently, the most inexpensive and popular route to a full VR experience is with the use of smartphones alongside headsets designed to facilitate a user’s experience, with Google Cardboard being the most popular example. Company evomade has taken up a notch by creating the Viewbox, a product remarkably similar to Cardboard but with minor differences that end up making all the difference.

Instead of being made from cardboard, the Viewbox is made of soft neoprene which allows it to fold up and be easily transported from one location to the next. In addition, the material makes wearing the product comfortable even with glasses on, and ventilation holes prevent moisture and fog to build up within the viewing area. The kr350 (~$45) product is expected to ship in April of 2015 with a successful campaign goal of kr80,000 (~$10,197).

Although users can easily create their own VR headset, the Viewbox is a very streamlined and low-key way to enjoy a wide variety of VR apps already available now, and the fact that it works with smartphones with screens as big as 5.7″ ensures many can use it. The AirVR looks kind of wacky to wear practically, while the Samsung Gear VR offers a similar experience to the Viewbox, but with a steep premium and bulkier design.

Tablet Accessories Virtual Reality

AirVR makes the iPhone a window into the world of virtual reality

VR headsets are a hot item that everyone wants to get their hands on, but why not beat the rush and convert some existing technology into a fully functional VR headset instead?

That’s the philosophy behind AirVR, an iPad Mini or iPhone 6+ mount that straps onto the head to create a VR headset with visuals on a high-quality retina display. By taking a tablet or phone consumers may already have, the cost of adopting a VR device is cut significantly, requiring consumers only to purchase the mount. With foam padding and adjustable nylon straps, the AirVR is easy to adjust to any head size or shape. The front-facing camera also allows the iOS device to pick up on augmented reality markers and create a 3-D environment that users can move and look around it with complete motion tracking.

Utilizing only a portion of the screen for the virtual experience, AirVR does not simply waste the additional space on the iPad Mini screen. Instead, a dynamic touch interface is put at the bottom allowing users to comfortably navigate through content without having to remove the device, change the content, and then put the headset back on. Toronto, Ontario designer Metatecture is raising $20,000 CAD (~$18,000 USD) to get AirVR out in time for the holidays. Existing iPad Mini and iPhone 6+ owners only need to pay $49 CAD (~$43 USD) to have their own VR headset in February 2015.

Devices like the AirVR and Samsung Galaxy Gear VR are looking to leapfrog the delayed VR headset manufacturers that built all the excitement up, but have yet to release a product. If it fits consumers’ needs and existing hardware, they’ll take the easier, cheaper route. The market is primed for a product like AirVR to be wildly successful.