×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

This Startup Wants to Build the Gear VR for iPhone-Based Augmented Reality

Los Angeles-based augmented reality (AR) startup Mira has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from will.i.am, Sequoia Capital, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Jaunt VR founder Jens Christensen and others to a kind of Gear VR headset for iPhone-based AR. The company’s Mira Prism headset can now be pre-ordered for $99.

That’s significantly cheaper than AR headsets from Microsoft and others, for a reason: Mira Prism uses an iPhone to render AR games and experiences, similar to the way Samsung’s Gear VR headset is being powered by a phone that is inserted into the headset itself.

In Mira’s case, the phone renders AR graphics, and then mirrors them onto a translucent visor. The headset also comes with a wireless controller to play games and navigate through experiences, and Mira is using Unity’s video game development tools to give developers a way to easily build games and experiences for its headset.

Finally, Mira has developed a kind of multi-player mode that allows users to join in on games from ordinary iOS devices even if they don’t have a Mira headset of their own. Mira opened up pre-orders for its headset Tuesday, and wants to ship first units to developers this fall, with consumer sales being planned for the holiday season.

Mira isn’t the first company to use this kind of mirroring for a phone-based AR headset.  San Francico-based Seebright introduced a prototype for a similar device all the way back in 2014, and has since developed its own phone-based AR headset.

The downside to these devices is that they depend on the light of the phone display for AR projection, which can be challenging in well-lit environments. What’s more, the way Mira approaches AR on the iPhone is fundamentally incompatible with Apple’s own mobile augmented reality technology.

Apple introduced powerful AR developer tools dubbed ARKit with the latest beta version of iOS, which allow developers to use the iPhone’s camera to localize and map surfaces and objects in a room. An ARKit game can, for example, use the surface of a table as part of the game, with objects falling to the ground if a player moves them too far over the edge. ARKit apps will become available on millions of iPhones when Apple officially releases the next version of iOS later this summer.

More Digital

  • Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi, the Los Angeles-based director of Netflix international originals, responsible for India content, has resigned and will quit after a transition period. Netflix did not comment. Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that Netflix prefers an executive based in India to oversee local original content that has now grown to 11 series and [...]

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $11.52 million through Sunday for 869 national ad airings [...]

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content