Virtual Reality

PRO3D virtual reality headset aims to bring stereoscopic 3D to the masses

Virtual reality has become one of the hotter technologies of the past couple of years. But the Oculus Rift and others of its ilk have yet to become available to consumers and, when they do, aren’t expected to be cheap.

The Long Beach, California, maker of the PRO3D stereoscopic 3D and virtual reality viewer is aiming to bring similar technology to the masses with an inexpensive attachment for the iPhone 6 Plus. Their model won’t be anywhere near as bulky as the Oculus Rift and other similar devices. Backers who pledge $29 will get a bare bones version of the attachment when it ships in June. Those who pledge $47 or $86 will get more elaborately designed versions of the product. Its maker is looking to raise $39,700 on Kickstarter.

This isn’t the first cheap virtual reality product for smartphones, following on the heels of devices including ShareVR. PRO3D’s focus on only one smartphone model stands to limit its appeal significantly. If the effect it provides–the quality of which is impossible to tell from its Kickstarter campaign video–is mediocre or worse, that will cut down on its chances even further.

Cell Phone Accessories Virtual Reality

ShareVR is another way to get virtual reality using your smartphone

At the top of many holiday wish lists this year will be VR headsets. However, many of the devices that are already household names are not ready to go to market just yet and almost all of them will be rather expensive. shareVR is an interesting new way to make VR possible with head-tracking functions by connecting a smartphone to a PC. With just a micro USB cable, a head mount, and the software that communicates with the PC, shareVR can give a consumer a functioning VR headset for less than $50.

The device works with any game using DirectX 9, 10, or 11, and head-tracking through an Inertial Measurement Unit. With only 30ms of latency, the time between the action on the main screen and what’s happening in the goggles is minimal for most kinds of applications. shareVR inventor Marcin Grygiel is raising £50,000 (~$78,250) to complete the software. For backers, the program will cost only £9 (~$14) and they can use their head mount of choice. shareVR offers an interesting DIY way of bringing VR home, and will be a great entry point for many customers. However, the specific compatibility requirements and technical limitations may be off-putting to purists.