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Mobile-Based SDK ALPS VR Revealed for Cross-HMD Development

One of the biggest surprises in the virtual reality (VR) industry in 2014 has been the rise of mobile VR, using smartphones as both a display and head-tracking solution that slot into head-mounted displays (HMD). The most obvious example of this is the Gear VR, Samsung’s recently-released kit that uses the Galaxy Note 4 handset. But with so many of these HMDs either available or soon to be released, the market runs the risk of becoming fragmented. That’s where the newly-announced ALPS VR comes in.

Revealed at last week’s London-based Inition VR Meetup, ALPS VR is a Unity-based mobile VR software development kit (SDK) that allows for cross-HMD development. With the toolset implemented users can simple select which HMD they’re using or configure settings themselves to create optimised settings for specifics HMDs. This includes aspects such as barrel distortion, colour correction, head-tracking and navigation systems. Currently the kit features built-in configurations for the Altergaze and Google Cardboard. While it’s possible to adjust settings manually for the likes of Gear VR, the company hopes to add built-in support for more HMDs.

A video, seen below, shows the concept in action. The user is exploring the popular Tuscany VR demo, bringing up a simple menu that allows them to easily switch between configurations for Altergaze, Cardboard and the upcoming Firefly VR HMD. A default setting also allows users to easily switch back to the standard set up. Those interested can currently download the Beta build of ALPS VR via the SDK’s official website. It’s not yet clear when a final build of the SDK will be released.

ALPS VR could prove to be an essential tool as mobile-based VR grows in popularity. Last week Google made huge improvements for Cardboard following news that over 500,000 units had been used. Combined with the recent launch of Gear VR, next year will certainly be interesting for the mobile VR scene. VRFocus will continue to follow ALPS VR and all mobile VR news, reporting back with the latest updates.