Update: The MagiMask Kickstarter is now funded.
Original: After two years of quiet development, Ludenso is announcing the $99 MagiMask AR headset. The company is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the end of the product’s development, but regardless of whether or not the campaign is successful headsets will start shipping out to pre-orders in Q1 2019.
They’re asking for $24,519 USD by November 15th and as of the time of this writing have already raised $14,309 USD.
Prior to MagiMask the same company also held successful Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns for the MovieMask, a head-mounted display purely designed for watching movies in an immersive environment. You can buy one right now (Best Buy, IndieGoGo) for about $99. Stylistically, the MagiMask looks almost identical, but this time you slot your phone inside.
In terms of design and comfort, the MagiMask looks very similar to the Google Daydream View. Personally, I’m not a fan of cloth-based headsets because they’re not built firmly and, in m experience, droop in the front and have light leak issues. Obviously I haven’t tried the MagiMask, but that’s the impression I get from the footage and images.
Interesting, the MagiMask doesn’t use two lenses to magnify the phone screen like you’d find in the Gear VR or Daydream View and it doesn’t reflect screen images onto a mirror display like the Aryzon or Mira Prism. Functionally, it looks similar to the Ghost, but we can’t confirm how similar the technology is. Instead, the MagiMask is one large display inside the headset, shown above.
In addition to being compatible with most existing AR apps that you can already download on your iOS or Android device according to a press release, MagiMask also ships with physical trackers as well for developers to use as real world anchors. The included trackers are a MagiTile, which lays flat on a surface like a table or held in your hands like shown above, MagiKards, which are like multiple smaller MagiTiles, and the MagiDice, a cube that you can pick up and hold as a trackable object.
Or in the GIF below, you can see how the MagiDice and MagiTile can interact with one another:
“We believe people have been led into the AR market with false hopes and outrageously expensive hardware,” said Eirik Wahlstrøm, CEO and co-founder of Ludenso. “We have created a hardware platform for mobile AR using our unique head-mounted display and tracker kit. Our HMD works with 99% of the existing apps without customizations, and gives 100% augmented FOV and improved resolution. Our low cost and innovative technology will enable developers around the world to have the hardware tools they need to reach millions of customers and give tech enthusiasts the opportunity to own an AR headset without having to spend thousands of dollars.”
Based on what we’ve seen the technology seems sound and the price point is definitely attractive — but to be clear, we haven’t tried it yet. The fact that the device is reportedly shipping no matter how the crowdfunding turns out is a very good sign. We’re eager to get our hands on the AR headset to see if it can deliver on its promises.
Let us know what you think of he MagiMask down in the comments below!