Apple has always been at the forefront of the mobile phone industry. Now they are taking a step ahead and creating their own virtual and augmented reality experience for iPhone users. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has been gaining interest in AR and VR technology, now coming up with ways to bring those experiences to iPhone users. Phones that run using Android can experience virtual reality thanks to Google Daydream, which uses the phone’s screen and processor as the basis for VR experience. The unfortunate thing is, Daydream doesn’t work on iPhones, let alone iOS. Well, now iPhone users are also able to experience VR with the newly released Bridge VR headset.
Occipital, a start-up company, launched Bridge VR headset, dedicated for Apple devices last Friday (December 9, 2016) and is known for the Structure Sensor, an accessory for iPads that can sense how far away an object is, and is a good example of a 3D scanner. It is also the key part of the Bridge VR headset. Combined with a wide-angle lens, it can accurately scan and map the room the user is in. It is able to detect the user’s movements and location and integrate these into the virtual world, almost similar to the HTC Vive.
Despite the accuracy, there are also few limitations to the headset. One of the limitations is that it has a low-resolution screen of the iPhone when the screen is split into two, providing only a maximum of 640 x 480 per eye. Secondly, the Bridge headset can output content at 60 fps, but the iPhone caps the app at 30 fps.
Occipital also created an augmented character named Bridget, that can interact with you in the virtual world, bringing you a deeper experience. You can tell Bridget to bring a virtual object, and she’ll get it for you, avoiding real-world objects such as furniture along the way. And she’ll also get upset if physical objects get in her way.
You can also control your environment by using a wireless controller that’s sort of like a mini Wiimote. It shows a green dot in the augmented world, which also acts as a mouse cursor. “We’re trying to deliver really great augmented reality on mobile devices,” VP of marketing Adam Rodnitzky told Business Insider.
The most exciting thing about owning the Bridge VR headset is that it can bring you from an augmented world, to a full virtual world. If you click on Bridget, she’ll display a menu of 5 things. To go on full virtual mode, pick the one that looks like a person escaping, and in a few seconds, you will see a huge virtual portal in front of you, step into it and you will be suddenly in a fully virtual environment. Sounds like something out of Doctor Strange.
The headset works with iPhone 6, 6S and 7, which will be on sale in March for $399. But before the official shipping, the company is selling early “explorer editions” that are delivered before Christmas for $499. Both shipments come with a wireless controller. There are no Plus-sized models that are supported at this moment, running iOS 9 or up.