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Monday, March 10, 2008

Virtuality: iPhone In 3D

Been a while since I posted about Virtuality. In addition to the fact that Second Life kills my laptop and slows it to a grinding halt, I've also been waiting to see where the virtual trend went- what would be the next evolution using virtual worlds as a jump off point, how it might go more mainstream, particularly how it might remove the experience from being tethered to a computer...

While buzzing through the RSS feeds this morning, I came across this over at Virtual World News. BOXfab is a start up that designs products that enhance existing technologies (that's probably simplifying it way too much, but you get the idea). Their first product (as far as I can tell from their website) is a virtual reality headset for the iPhone. Basically, it turns the iPhone screen and display into a 3D, heads up display. The user puts on a special headset and is ready for a fully immersed experience.

From the site:

"A Virtual Reality display device which uses the iPhone as the viewing plate so that it becomes a wearable virtual headset simply by clipping on a special attachment. The device can network with other uses for shared virtual experiences and uses the tilt sensor of the iPhone plus a proprietary left-right tracker to provide a truly immersive experience.

"Special close-view depixelization flat optics turn the iPhone screen into a 3 dimensional window into another world. The under $200.00 design provides the functionality of devices costing thousands of dollars more. Three versions: A. Hand-Held. B. Wearable. C. Deskmount."

Bringing virtual reality to the iPhone could turn out to be a big move and a significant evolution of the trend. Sure, wearing the headset could be a little clunky and odd to wear in public. But I respect the push to take the idea that is at the core of virtual worlds- bringing a visual, 3D component to the social experiences we have online- in a new direction. And, as they point out over at VWN, this device may not be the answer or necessarily the future, but it gives us a glimpse into some possibilities.

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