Microsoft's HoloLens may indeed be making augmented reality more accessible than ever before, but at a price of US$3,000 it's still not going to be accessible to everyone. It was with this in mind that a team of Industrial Design Engineering students from the Netherlands' University of Twente created Aryzon. At a planned price of just $30, it's being described as "the Google Cardboard of AR."
Aryzon is in fact made largely of cardboard, which the user folds into shape after it arrives flat-packed in the mail. Here's how it works …
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Running a custom iOS/Android app, the user's smartphone is placed in the bottom of the device, with its screen facing back towards the user – this means that the phone's main camera is facing forward. The user views the real world through a slanted piece of glass in the top of the device.
Stereoscopic 3D graphics are displayed on the phone's screen, against a black background. These are reflected up by a mirror set at an angle to the phone, with their reflection going through a set of fresnel lenses and ultimately appearing on the back side of the glass through which the user is looking. As a result, the person sees both the real world (directly through the glass) along with a reflection of the graphics, overlaid on top.
The app uses the phone's camera to identify and track a target object in the real world, which it keeps the graphics centered over. If the user picks that object up and moves it – such as drawing it closer to themselves, or twisting it around to either side – the graphics move with it. The app also utilizes the phone's accelerometer and gyroscope to detect when the user moves (and their viewing perspective changes), so it can alter the angle of the 3D graphics accordingly.
The field of view (for a phone with a 5.5-inch screen) is 35 x 20 degrees, which is actually wider than the HoloLens' 30 x 17.
If you're interested in getting an Aryzon of your own, it's currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of €24 (about US$26) will get you one, when and if it reaches production.
AR footage shot through the device can be seen in the video below.