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‘Cardboard For Mixed Reality’ Aims To Lower Platform Entry Price

Could Aryzon’s headset be the cheap Hololens-alternative we’ve been waiting for?

Since the release of the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headset we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in the popularity of the unique platform among amateurs and professional developers alike. As cool as mixed reality may be, the current price of entry is anything but. At the moment, your choice remains the HoloLens Development Edition priced at $3,000, even though multiple other MR headsets have already been announced by prominent manufacturers such as Asus, Dell and Lenovo. However one smaller headset in particular is setting itself apart from the pack with its aspiration of becoming the “Google Cardboard of mixed reality.”  

The crowdfunded Aryzon project, currently sitting at $50,349 at writing ($22,407 above its pledge goal) on Kickstarter, aims to provide a low-cost entry point into the pricey world of mixed reality. The $30 DIY cardboard kit comes with a custom smartphone app available on both iOS & Android for free.

Getting started is as simple as installing the app and sliding your phone into the periscope-like HMD. You will then have access to regular updates featuring new mixed reality games and experiences as well as all pre-existing 2D mixed reality apps available on the App Store and Google Play. Developers will also have full access to the headset allowing them free range to develop their own custom experiences.

“What makes this exciting is that it allows everyone to experience augmented reality,” spoke Maarten Slaa, founder and CEO of Aryzon, during an interview with Digital Trends. “We have designed the Aryzon to be as easy to use as possible. It comes as a DIY package, and if you’ve finished arts-and-crafts [class] you will be able to build it. Using the Aryzon is just as easy: just open the app, slide in your phone, and [we] will guide you through the possibilities of AR.”

While I can always appreciate a bargain, it’s probably a good idea to remain cautiously optimistic of the Aryzon for the time being. A “$30 alternative to the Hololens” sounds like an attractive option, but it’s important to take into account the significant drop in quality when compared to Microsoft’s high powered headset. Smartphone technology may be on the rise, but it’s still no match for the raw rendering and inside-out tracking power featured in the HoloLens. So while the Aryzon may still be a viable platform with its own perks, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be of any concern to Microsoft.

And maybe that’s okay. After all, the headset is trying its best to compare itself to the Google Cardboard, a revolutionary platform that brought virtual reality into the mainstream despite its limited capabilities. Much like how the Cardboard was a gateway to expensive VR for many, the Aryzon could perhaps be the catalyst for a whole new generation of mixed reality enthusiasts. With more midrange MR headsets on the way, it’ll be interesting to see how the Aryzon finds its place in this soon-to-be-crowded landscape.

Those interested can back the low-cost MR headset over on their official Kickstarter page. $32 gets you the headset, $60 lands you (2) headsets and so on and so forth, you get it. Expected delivery is September of this year.

About the Scout

Kyle Melnick

Kyle is a writer for VRScout also working in new media production. He's also a part-time bounty hunter.

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