AR Becomes Physical as Merge Cube Launches

It's exclusively available in Walmart.

During CES 2017 in January, virtual reality (VR) headset maker Merge VR unveiled a new product and a toy that uses augmented reality (AR) called Holo Cube. Since then it’s been renamed the Merge Cube, and the company has announced that it’ll be available to purchase exclusively from Walmart this week.

With AR gaining more prominence through apps like Pokemon GO and Apple’s ARKit, the Merge Cube does things a little a little differently by giving users something they can hold to see holographic objects. Using a virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) like Merge VR’s own purple device, users can then dive into the company’s Merge Miniverse to select from a curated range of family-friendly content.

Merge Cube Package

Some of the Merge Miniverse AR apps include:

  • Th!ngs:​ ​A collection of holographic mini-games where users can hatch and play with their very own Octopet, battle alien forces, and even hold a campfire in the palm of their hands.
  • Mr. Body:​ ​A hands on, holographic anatomy lesson that gives a close-up view of the vital organs and their functions, and makes learning about the human body fun.
  • Galactic Explorer​: ​An educational game that lets users hold and interact with the solar system. They can watch as planets orbit the Sun, explore the texture and color of each planet’s surface and discover interesting facts as users navigate the universe.
  • Dig!​: ​A world-building game that lets users build and mine to create holographic 3D worlds they can hold in the palm of their hand, save their creations, share with friends, and even download and build off others’ pre-built worlds.

“We’re excited to bring the Merge Cube to Walmart stores and physically put this technology into people’s hands. With this first-of-its-kind product, people can experience the wonder and amazement of interacting with holographic, 3D content in a natural and intuitive way,” said Merge Founder Franklin Lyons in a statement​. “Our Merge Cube and Goggles allow users to interact with more than just a screen – now they can build worlds, explore the human brain, visit foreign lands and more through the power of VR/AR.”

The Merge Cube will be rolled out to Walmart stores this week, retailing for $14.99 USD, compatible with iOS and Android devices. While the Merge VR headset is available worldwide for $59.99.

Last month the company launched a $1 million fund for VR and AR developers building apps for the Merge platform. “With an innovative product like Merge Cube, we wanted to expand our support of the dev community to encourage innovation and creativity for all AR/VR platforms,” said Merge VR Co-founder Andrew Trickett​. “The Goggles and Cube, paired with original apps and those coming in from third-party app developers, provide a hands-on, educational virtual space for a new generation.”

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Merge VR, reporting back with the latest updates.

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