iOS

Starting at $99, the Mira Prism AR headset is kind of like a Samsung Gear VR for iPhones

Tech companies nowadays, both big and small, are either looking to capitalize on the fast-growing popularity of virtual reality or the mostly untapped potential of AR hardware and software.

There are also those that seem to think “mixed experiences” are the future, with very few skeptics holding off on examining ways to drive innovation across all these immersive segments.

That said, it’s somewhat ironic it took three students from the inaugural class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre, Academy to come up with probably the world’s first affordable augmented reality headset.

Taking a page from Samsung Gear VR’s playbook rather than that of the extravagant Microsoft HoloLens, the Mira Prism is “powered by your smartphone”, costing a measly $99 on pre-order right now. The MSRP will be $149, and developer kits are estimated to start shipping sometime in the fall, followed by consumer version deliveries around the holidays.

As you can imagine, this basic, cumbersome, decidedly goofy-looking shell lacks any sort of standalone processing brains, as well as its own display or battery. But it’s still marketed as an untethered product, with the iPhone 6, 6s and 7 supported for easy sliding, “no plugs, computers, or wires needed.”

The handset faces away from the user, letting you “interact with holographic images overlaid on the real world” as it flashes content in front of your eyes on a transparent visor. It’s a straightforward, minimalistic and, let’s be honest, almost rudimentary concept, though it might still be worth a shot at a single Benjamin. Especially if the startup, already backed by Sequoia Capital, Salesforce CEO, Jaunt VR founder and “global music artist” Will.i.am, can tap into Apple’s ARKit to ship the Mira Prism with compelling augmented software.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).