While we've had phone-powered virtual reality headsets like Samsung's Gear VR or Google's Daydream View for several years now, no one's yet done the same for augmented reality. Enter the Mira Prism, a $99 pair of AR glasses that runs from an iPhone.
As with the VR specs we've mentioned, you slot your phone into the Mira Prism, and fire up the accompanying app. The app works with the hardware to project digital elements onto the real world before you – it's like a cheap and basic HoloLens.
The plastic glasses are designed to be lightweight and relatively unobtrusive, offer up a 60-degree field of view, and have the same resolution as an iPhone screen (1,334 x 750 pixels) according to the developers. A small basic remote is included too for interacting with your AR worlds.
It's still early days for the Mira Prism. It only works with the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6S, and the iPhone 7 right now, though other iOS devices can get involved via a Spectator mode that shows the AR elements through the camera on an iPhone or iPad.
And indeed the models shipping by the US Fall are labeled as "Dev Kits," with the "Consumer Version" slated for the holiday season 2017.
The idea is that developers and coders start working on some AR content and apps in time for the rest of us to pick up the Mira Prism as a Christmas gift. As we've seen with VR headsets, the available content can make a big difference to sales numbers.
What might give the Mira Prism a boost is the imminent arrival of iOS 11 and its ARKit augmented reality tools for developers – we're already seeing a host of demos and that interest is something that the makers of this AR headset will want to tap into.
In fact it seems almost inevitable, given the introduction of ARKit and long-standing rumors, that Apple is working on some AR glasses of its own. We'll have to wait and see how much market share the Mira Prism and any new competitors can gobble up before then.
It might take some big name apps and games – like Pokémon Go – to become available on the Mira Prism before it's a compelling buy for many. That said, the hardware looks sleek and comfortable, and it's certainly the cheapest way into AR yet.
The Mira Prism can be preordered online for $99, with the suggested retail price listed as $149. You can see a video of the headset in action below.
Product page: Mira Prism
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more