Virtual Reality (VR) devices have become all the rage recently. From gaming headset Oculus Rift to Sony’s Project Morpheus, VR has been muscling onto PCs and consoles, giving gamers a deeper, more immersive experience. Now plucky startup Altergaze wants to bring VR to phones, letting users lose themselves in virtual environments on the go.

While most VR devices have their own microprocessors that change video feeds from PCs and consoles into stereoscopic VR images, the Altergaze relies entirely on the phone to do the processing, with the device itself being just a binocular frame with lenses and eyepieces.

Being a “dumb” device without complicated electronic circuitry, the Altergaze lends itself to easy reproduction. Indeed, the entire device, apart from the lenses and screws, is designed to be easily 3D-printed, giving anyone with a 3D printer the opportunity to make and customise their own Altergaze, becoming a manufacturer and distributor unto themselves.

On the developer side, the team has developed the Altergaze Camera Script, which is designed to replace in-game cameras and let developers make their games compatible with Altergaze easily. Also, the Altergaze Controller app has been developed for users to control their games and apps, given that their phones are attached to the Altergaze device. The Altergaze Controller can be installed on any device, be it a notebook, PC or tablet.

Below are the specs for the Altergaze goggles:

  • Field of view: 110 degrees (with the handheld rubber eyepiece) / 90 degrees (with the headgear rubber eyepiece)
  • Head tracking: 6 degrees of freedom (9 DOF IMU)
  • Display: resolution 1136 x 640 (1920 x 1080 on Samsung S4), contrast 800:1, brightness: 500 cd /m2
  • Weight: 0.22 kilograms (without the phone)
  • Dimensions: 15.8cm x 8.2cm x 7.2cm (without the rubber eyepiece)

Now, Altergaze needs funding to partner 3D printing facilities all over the world for production, as well as to develop more VR programmes. To this effect, Altergaze has opened up a Kickstarter campaign for backers. For those who want to explore the future of VR with their own device, you’ve got 43 days left to make it happen!

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