Smartphone-based VR has proved to be one of the most effective means of bringing the technology to the masses over the past few years. Jean Helfenstein thinks the same will be true of AR, which is why he’s made Ghost.
Ghost is a brand new AR headset that, like Gear VR, Google Daydream or any number of other VR viewers, lets your handset power the experience. It consists of a main compartment into which you can slot recent iOS or Android smartphone with space for the phone’s camera to see the world in front of it. However, unlike mobile-based VR, users don’t peer into the phone’s screen via a pair of lenses but instead through a detachable, transparent visor that the phone projects images to. This allows you to see the entire world around with virtual images appearing inside a 70 degree field of view (FOV).
The device is fitted with a button on its right side for interactions with content and utilizes the six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking implemented in Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore as a means of positional tracking. It’s essentially taking both company’s current AR technology and turning them into a consumer headset now while both chip away at their own products for the future.
Ghost doesn’t just run ARKit/ARCore apps inside a headset, though. Helfenstein has developed Ghost OS, which features several applications, including the ability to mirror any macOS application from a computer as a virtual AR windows. There are also dedicated apps like Ghost Viewer for 3D model viewing and Ghost Theatre for watching content on a virtual screen. YouTube support is also included.
Finally, you can even change the transparent visor for another screen that will allow you to play Google Cardboard apps in VR.
It looks like a neat, if experimental device. Helfenstein is turning to crowd-funding to get it made; you can currently grab a Ghost on IndieGoGo for a special price of $79 (normal price $99). Estimated delivery in February 2019. That said, the project has only raised $1,365 of its $80,000 goal at the time of writing, with a month left to go. It’s going to need a serious kick if it hopes to pass that goal, then.