A simple 3D-printed case currently seeking funding on Kickstarter can convert your smartphone into the display on a VR headset.
(Credit: Louise Bankhead)
The Oculus Rift is taking its time to perfect for the consumer market, but if you're after a virtual-reality (VR) or augmented-reality (AR) experience, one product will provide a solution that uses your smartphone as the display.
Called vrAse, by Edinburgh, Scotland-based Louise Bankhead, it's a 3D-printed headset. Your smartphone slides into the front, providing the display.
Packed inside the headset is a pair of interchangeable lenses, one for each eye. Using an app that splits your display into two separate images — what is known as side-by-side or SBS format, for which there are many existing apps — each eye then sees a slightly different version of the same image, creating an effective 3D view.
Using content that has already been converted into SBS or converting it yourself, it can be used on pretty much any existing content, such as films and games — although for games, you will need a method of controlling it that isn't the phone's touchscreen, for obvious reasons.
You can also use it with your phone's camera to record first-person video, as seen in the video below.
There are six phones that vrAse has been built to fit perfectly: the iPhone 5, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It has been optimised for phones with a 5- to 6-inch screen; anything larger will be too heavy for the headset and wearer; and, if you don't have any of the "perfect fit" phones, a universal adapter will be able to accommodate your device.
It's important to note that vrAse will not work with glasses; however, the Kickstarter page notes that you will not need your glasses, except in cases of more severe myopia, in which case you can wear contact lenses.
A pledge of £58 (AU$100), plus £15 (AU$26) international shipping, gets you one vrAse in the colour of your choice, white or dark grey, with an estimated delivery date of February 2014. Head over to the vrAse Kickstarter page or the vrAse website for more info.