Augmented Reality (AR) is much more exciting than Virtual Reality – and, once you look at filter apps and Pokémon – amply expensive: a Microsoft HoloLense costs at least 3,300 euros and larger the offer is currently not.
Earlier this year, Stereolabs introduced the Linq, a smaller AR solution that far surpasses Microsoft’s face-field glasses while still costing less than $ 1000. But before the device is not on the market and the performance can be checked (development versions are to be shipped 2017, except for a few renderings so far nothing handfestes to the viewing), one should rather not believe these claims.
Nevertheless, it is interesting what Stereolabs now also presents: A 3D camera attachment for VR harnesses to upgrade these to AR headsets. The ZED Mini is a small version of the ZED-3D camera, which will also ensure that the Linq headset is used for room awareness in the future.
Colleague Nicole Lee has tried a prototype and was “a bit disappointed”, but also enthusiastically:
“The faded, pixelated quality of the 720p video signal dampened my experience pretty much and although the Framerate was at 60 FPS, I was sick when I ran around a little.”
The facial field is much bigger than the HoloLense. So the feeling in the scene, especially strong. In addition, the mixing of the realities worked quite well. Under virtual laser bombardment, Lee could protect herself against the laser beams with her hands – but she could also have picked up and used a real object from the room, for example a chair. The prototype also made a full-functional light sword, which could also be used to repel laser beams, a highlight of the presentation from a toy light sword.
The ZED Mini is scheduled to come on the market in September for $ 350 – and will not be the best, but certainly the cheapest and simplest AR solution on the market.