2014 saw plenty of smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD) announced but one of the first was Altergaze. This 3D-printable HMD from Liviu Berechet Antoni passed a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign in May 2014, raising some £31,988 GBP to produce the kit. This week the designer is kicking off what he hopes will be a successful year for the HMD with a brand new website for the device along with an update on shipping for those that backed the Kickstarter campaign.
The biggest addition to the new website is a pre-order page for those that didn’t back the campaign but are still hoping to secure an Altergaze for themselves. The HMD can be pre-ordered for £90 or £120 on fast track, with customers able to select colours and a tray for their specific smartphone. That said, these pre-orders are limited; Antoni has explained that he currently has stock of 500 lenses, 450 of which are going to Kickstarter supporters. That means there are only 50 additional Altergaze HMDs up for pre-order right now and plans to provide more are unrevealed.
Following a delay last year, Antoni has also provided an update on just when backers will be getting their kits. While Kickstarter-exclusive models have been shipped, pre-release models are currently being built with the aim of being sent in early February 2015. Following that, the disassembled HMDs will be dispatching in late February or early March. Personalised HMDs are being built on a case-by-case basis while lens kits and pandora boxes will be sent ‘once the Altergaze crowd manufacturing / 3D printing web platform is up and running’.
Like other smartphone-based HMDs, Altergaze works by slotting the user’s smartphone against a pair of lenses to display side-by-side content in 3D. From there the phone’s accelerometers act as a solution for VR head-tracking. VRFocus will continue to follow the device, reporting back with any further updates on it.