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.

Tablet Accessories

Battery-free SleeKeys makes iPad typing less of a pain in the glass

The Premise. One of the iPad’s weaknesses, and perhaps its Achille’s heel, is typing. No matter how Apple tries to frame it, it isn’t fun. Unwieldy and generally imprecise, it isn’t a reliable solution if you actually want to type something of substance. Since its introduction, companies have created a sea of Bluetooth keyboards to address the issue but the vast majority are bulky and drain battery, giving you more problems than you began with. 

The Product. SleeKeys wants to convince you its case/keyboard combination is the only one you’ll ever need, and the product’s features make a strong case. Their keyboard is a Bluetooth-free, variant that utilizes patent-pending technology to interact with the iPad. Since it has no battery, the tactile keyboard never needs to be paired or charged, placing no additional drain on the tablet itself. Weighing only 3.5 ounces and measuring in at a svelte 1/4″ , SleeKeys stows directly behind the iPad when not in use, retaining accessibility for short status updates or long reports. 

The Pitch. SleekTech has spent two years honing the nuances of their flagship product with over 20 prototypes, and their video showcases the results of that work. The remainder of the campaign expands on SleeKeys as a product, its development process, and expected manufacturing schedule. SleekTech is looking for $20,000 to kick production into high-gear for all those interested. 

The Perks. Enterprising individuals can obtain their very own SleeKeys case for just $45 with an early bird special, with the price shooting up to $55 if you miss out. If you like a little more luxury with your innovative keyboards, you can shell out $70 or more to receive a SleeKeys iPad Air case made with real leather. Backers will receive their SleeKeys on doorsteps in December 2014.

The Potential. SleeKeys isn’t the first battey-free typing aid for iPad. Another crowdfunded product, Touchfire’s iPad Keyboard Case, is SleeKey’s most direct competition. These product’s most obvious similarities lie in the versatility they offer users in being able to comfortably type anywhere. Their differences lie in their designs: the SleeKeys keyboard and case combo is a bit heavier than the Touchfire’s version by a few ounces. Although that may not sound like much, every bit of weight alters the iPad’s usability and that matters to the many wanting to keep it as light and thin as possible. Touchfire’s design is also much thinner, making it less intrusive than SleeKeys. But the SkeeKeys seems to offer better key travel and should appeal to those for whom the Touchfire isn’t enough and Bluetooth keyboards are too much.

Tablet Accessories

The iPad can stand up to anything with YOHANN

yohannAlthough iPads are renown for impeccable design, it can be a chore to hold for long periods of time. To address the issue, Swiss-based design firm sillber created YOHANN. The iPad stand’s minimal aesthetic offers users 3 positions to display and comfortably use the tablet. YOHANN works on everything from tables to the billowy folds of a duvet, setting it apart from other competitors. The sturdy one-piece design commands a similarly sturdy price, sacrificing true portability for sleek European construction, but that may not be3 enough to go beyond a discerning audience in a crowded field. Sillber hopes to raise $40,000 to have YOHANN in homes by November 2014.