A project on Kickstarter hopes to make a virtual reality headset that contains a built-in computer. The idea is to make it completely self-contained and require no technical knowledge to use.
AuraVisorworks on a similar basis to Android device-powered headsets. The difference is that you don’t need to either stick a phone inside or connect it to a tablet. Instead it has an Android computer with similar processors to those found in Chromebooks, but with the specs geared towards graphic processing. The theory is that the device should be able to work better because it’s dedicated to the VR tasks rather than sharing resources with other apps and background tasks.
The headset would work with three different types of content. It would run dedicated virtual reality apps, including those downloaded from Google Play Store. It would playback on-board video from a micro-SD card, converting 2D content into stereoscopic 3D content (though apparently not in a 360-degree/VR view.) And it would do the same to video content piped in through an HDMI connection. (Other than that, you wouldn’t need any cables as the device runs from a rechargeable battery with an advertised five hour life.)
Those who’ve had a chance to demo the technology report that, as you’d imagine, the effect lies somewhere between the slickness of Oculus Rift on a powerful PC and the cheap and cheerful approach of tools like Google Cardboard which simply hold a phone screen in front of your eyes. The problem is that it leaves a substantial gap that makes it hard to tell if it’s good value for the proposed retail price of US$450 (though Kickstarter pre-orders start at $202.)
One neat-sounding feature is that both the headset’s lenses and the display can be tweaked during setup to match an eye prescription, the idea being it’s possible for people with prescription spectacles to use the headset without wearing their glasses.