Tested posted a hands-on video about a Mix Augmented Reality headset prototype from AntVR. It’s called MIX AR because it’s offers both VR and AR on ths same headset. This headset was designed for Windoes-based PCs, it’s not designed to operate via a mobile phone. These glasses are designed according to OpenVR standards, which also makes the compatible with WebVR.
The way AR works in this AntVR headset is that the light ommited by the LCD displays is bounces onto 7-layered lenses in front of the user’s eyes. They also use polarized lens so the outside light is channeled and erach the user’s eyes as well.
CEO of AntVR mentioned that one of the main benefits of these AR/VR headset, aside from being able to run both AR/VR experiences, is the lower price, which should made the technology easier to bring to the consumer market. However, Tested pointed out that this is not a product that isn’t ready yet for its prime time and it’s more designed for developers to to experience how AR loks and behave using AR glasses and be more ready to other more advanced products that follows it.
The company ran a successful KickStarter campaign. It raised $190,450 from 273 backers as of the time of writing. The headset price starts at $450, which is indead a relatively very afordable price.
The headset features 96° FoV, it’s small (54.0mm height and 182.3mm in length) and lightweight (130g without the cable), features positional tracking, 6-DoF tracking using SLAM technology, eye tracking, hand tracking and 3-DoF controller.
I am excited about this product, but it’s going to have a lot of competition very soon. The product is expected to be shipped to backers in December this year, 2018. One of the main advantages is being a Hybrid AR/Vr solution and it looks smaller and probably is lighter than the Magic Leap. So the price is good, it looks good and it’s a Hybrid AR glasses, and there is definetelly is a place in the market for such product.
Having said that, at the end of the day it comes to the device being attractive to developers and the available apps for it. This product doesn’t have a strong brand name behind it, it’s not Apple or Samsung, so it will have to prove itself.
These AR glasses will probably rival HoloLens (starts from $3,000, as of the time of writing) and the Meta 2 ($1495.00 as of the time of writing), but both are much more expensive and are not hyrbrid (AR/VR). AntsVR is also SteamVR SDK compatible.
The thing is that in order to have a strong penetration into the market, the company will need a much larger investment. If they can partner with some big companies to have a killer app or game for it, it can get an early release advantage.
Tested also mentioned that the image wasn’t sharp, the field of view is still relatively narrow, because the virtual content in AR is projected onto lenses, it isn’t opaque but partially transparent. Even the VR headset is not comparable to an experience like the one you get with other VR headset because the optical system impair the visual experience compare to what’s currently out there.
So although my initial impressions where positive,I understood that there are issues with those glasses that will probably won’t be solved until 2nd generation of AR glasses. There is also no mention about custom perspcription glasses for this headset. It suppose to be compatible with glasses according to the FAQ on KickStarter (“For most glasses, yes, if your glasses are not too big”).
The thing is that by the time this company achieve its 2nd milestone, I think that the big companies will alraedy be there with their AR glasses, and with such a big existing ecosystem and loyal developers, it will be hard for AntVR to compete against them. That being said, the MIX AR glasses are compatible with SteamVR, which means that they are already compatible with 130+ existing SteamVR apps out of the box.
You can find more information about AntVR MIX AR Glasses on their KickStarter page.
For the official press release.
Image credit: AntVR.