This European startup is crowdfunding augmented reality’s answer to Google Cardboard

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  • Aryzon, a European startup that is crowdfunding ‘augmented reality’s answer to Google Cardboard’ on Kickstarter, has sailed through its own crowdfunding target with its incredibly low-cost AR headset to rival Microsoft’s high-end HoloLens headset.

    When Google launched Google Cardboard, an ultra-basic virtual reality headset fashioned from cardboard and two 40mm lens with a slot for a smartphone, the company explained its motivation was to make VR more accessible: "Thinking about how to make VR accessible to more people, a group of VR enthusiasts at Google experimented with using a smartphone to drive VR experiences."

    The end result was "a no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset, and the accompanying open software toolkit that makes writing VR software as simple as building a web or mobile app". Since launching in the US in 2014 and the UK and Ireland in 2015 Google has shipped over 10 million units of its Cardboard headset.

    With a similar motivation and a similar price point, Aryzon’s Kickstarter campaign describes its headset as the “Cardboard of AR,” a low-cost headset that is designed to democratise augmented reality in the same way Cardboard democratised VR.

    The Aryzon headset will be compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones, with an accompanying app that gives users access to a range of augmented reality experiences. The headset will also be fully accessible to developers of other AR apps so that they can adapt their applications to ensure compatibility.

    “Aryzon hopes to create a community who are passionate about AR development,” the company explained, “allowing the platform to be optimized and improved with the objective of becoming the go-to platform for augmented reality content creation and sharing.”

    With more than a month still to go before the company completes its Kickstarter campaign, Aryzon has already sailed through its €25,000 crowdfunding target. The first AR headsets are due to begin shipping in August.


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