They are ahead of Apple by creating this augmented reality headset for iPhone


Apple is not fond of the metaverse. On the other hand, the Cupertino company is very interested in augmented reality. Proof of this is that its CEO Tim Cook never misses an opportunity to discuss the advantages of this technology.

And currently, everything suggests that the Cupertino company is preparing the launch of its first helmet mixing virtual reality and augmented reality. Normally, the product should arrive in 2023. But in the meantime, a company called Holo Interactive already offers an augmented reality headset for Apple customers: the HoloKit X.

An augmented reality headset that doesn’t cost a fortune

And while augmented reality headsets or glasses from Meta, Microsoft, or Magic Leap cost a fortune, the HoloKit X only retails for $129 in the United States. However, you will need to have a recent iPhone.

Indeed, the HoloKit X does not embed a screen or a processor. This uses the computing power, technologies, as well as the sensors of the iPhone to produce the augmented reality experience.

The idea is not new. Google has already democratized virtual reality with the Cardboard, its cardboard helmet that used a smartphone. And Samsung partnered with Oculus, at one point, to offer virtual reality headsets for its Galaxy smartphones.

However, unlike Google and Samsung headsets, the HoloKit X does not lock the user into a virtual reality world. The helmet superimposes virtual elements on real-world objects.

But how is this possible?

First of all, it should be remembered that Apple already offers technologies allowing developers to create augmented reality experiences for the iPhone.

When using this headset, the user is looking through glass, with a 60 degree field of view. Photo sensors on the back of the iPhone are used to generate the augmented reality effects, and these effects are reflected (“in stereoscopic vision,” according to Wired magazine) by the iPhone’s screen onto the lens.

It is thanks to this trick that the creator of Holokit X, Botao Amber Hu, offers an augmented reality experience with an affordable helmet, and an iPhone.

For the moment, the weakness of this headset is the lack of content. Indeed, the Holo Interactive team produces the content itself. The apps on this platform are called “Realities”. And some are very stunning.

Among the contents already developed there is this duel game, in which you can challenge your friends in fierce battles (the video below includes a first person view).

Otherwise, as this other video shows, the helmet could also have potential in the artistic field.

Potential, but…

It should also be noted that for the moment, the software is not available on the App Store. Thus, to use a Holokit X helmet, the user will have to go through TestFlight, the service offered by Apple to test applications before their release.

According to Wired magazine, compatible models are iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max. Preferably use a Pro model with a LiDAR sensor on the back.

In any case, like Google’s Cardboard a few years ago, Holokit X could help democratize augmented reality. Moreover, it should be noted that the first prototype was not plastic, but cardboard.

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