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Affordable Smartphone VR Headset Altergaze Launches Kickstarter

A Kickstarter campaign for Altergaze, a new, affordable virtual reality (VR) headset that uses smartphones, has been launched. Designer Liviu Berechet Antoni is looking for £25,000 GBP to help start the manufacturing process as well as finish the development of some of the apps that will support the device. Those apps will be free to download. Antoni explained the Kickstarter to VRFocus in a video below.

Altergaze is a 3D printed device that lets users clip in a smartphone and experience VR straight away. With two lenses sitting in front of a phone’s screen it creates stereoscopic 3D images with a field of view of over 110 degrees. Supported software uses the smartphone’s gyroscope as a head-tracking solution.

It can be treated as a simple handheld device that users hold up to their eyes or a headset. Both of these models come with different eyepieces to optimise the experience. The full Altergaze comes in three different designs, sporting either a Hades, Zeus or Poseidon logo.

Laptops, tablets and other smartphones can be used as controllers via an Altergaze Controller App. Any iOS and Android developers that want to make their apps Altergaze-compatible need only replace the original title’s camera with the Altergaze Camera Script.

3D printing also brings its own unique advantages. Antoni has stressed that the Altergaze is open hardware, meaning anyone can download it, print it and then adjust the design themselves provided that it’s not for commerical use. Those without a 3D printer can also customise the design and access a 3D printing facility to have it made.

As with any Kickstarter, there are a range of rewards for project backers. The first tier is at £15, which will net you and Altergaze T-Shirt. £30 will allow you to 3D print your own Altergaze handheld. For £75 you’ll get the headset model and for £100 you’ll get the whole thing with a choice between the Zeus, Poseidon or Hades versions and both the handheld and headset eyepieces. Atoni hopes to ship these headsets in November 2014.

Moving up, £150 will net you a special edition Altergaze, already assembled and estimated to ship two months earlier in September. For £200 there’s a personalised Altergaze made to your specifications, and for £500 you can receive 3 personalised Altergaze sets.

Stretch Goals are also promised in increments of £35,000, £60,000 and £120,000. Each promises to add new software for the Altergaze, with the latter describing a story driven first-person experience. VRFocus will keep track of the Altergaze and bring you all the latest on its development and campaign.