There have long been just two paths to virtual reality: the Oculus Rift-style headset with a computer umbilicus, or the budget-conscious Android-style smartphone head mount. But could there be a third path? UK-based tinkerer James Talbot, the creator of Headbones headphones, thinks so. His new take on VR, called the AuraVisor, offers cordless immersion without the text messages crashing into your pupils.
The AuraVisor bills itself as the first mobile, it’s-all-there unit, though it’s a claim that it might have to wrestle away from another indie headset, GameFace.
The AuraVisor touts the usual VR details we’ve grown to know and love: it allows you to watch movies in 3D, combat zombies, and generally enjoy a 1920 x 1080p HD screen. Still, it remains an indie in a nascent field already dominated by massive companies. While a mobile computer optimized for VR has a distinct appeal, it will have to hit the right price point to get around the Oculus marketing budget and the Gear’s $99 price tag. In an interview with BBC reviewer Rory Cellan-Jones, a certain hoary slingshot sharpshooter was invoked. That’s all well and good, but David only beat the one Goliath.
On Kickstarter — the natural birthing grounds for virtual reality products exploded out of the gates in 2012 — AuraVisor made its debut Monday. The headset currently costs $202 for crowdfunders, but the 2016 shelf price, plus game controller, will likely be more in the $450 range. That’s disruptive, but not very.