Cheap virtual reality (VR) headsets like the Google Cardboard have become very popular. Cheap to buy and easy to set up, they are a simple option for people to test if VR is right for them, or to test and prototype VR apps and 360-degree videos. Augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) is a different proposition, with Microsoft’s Hololens running to over $3000, its hard to find a low-cost option. The Holokit is trying to change that with some lenses, mirrors and some cardboard.
The Holokit, as the names suggests, comes in kit form and acts as a DIY solution for creating an AR experience at low cost. Using a pair of mirrors, the display of a smartphone is reflected on to an angled, semi-transparent Fresnel lens, which allows the users to see both the image and the world behind it. Is essence, it works similarly to ‘smoke and mirrors’ illusionists tricks that have been used in film and theatre for half a century.
Though not quite as cheap as a Google Cardboard headset due to the presence of the mirrors and Fresnel lenses, the Holokit is still quite cost effective, if a bit more fragile than it’s VR cousin. The Holokit is currently compatible with iPhone 7 and 7+, Google Pixel smartphones and Google Tango hardware.
The people responsible for the Holokit are Amber Garage, whose founder, Botao Hu presented the kit at Augmented World Expo. The company plan to have code and documentation for the kit released soon on to Github, with ready-to-assemble kits planned to begin shipping in early July 2017. Further information is available on the official Holokit website.
A video demonstration of the Holokit’s capabilities is available to view below.
VRFocus will bring you further information on the Holokit as it becomes available.