I backed this Kickstarter: ZapBox

I’ve backed a Kickstarter project that hopes to create inexpensive mixed reality hardware and software. The project is called “ZapBox: Mixed Reality for $30” and it’s a very ambitious project by a team of developers based in the UK. I’m one of 1,854 backers who successfully funded the project this month.

As per their Kickstarter page this is a functional prototype of what the ZapBox mixed reality kit looks like.

What is it?

Here’s a description of how it all works.

“ZapBox includes a set of physical markers (you guessed it, made of cardboard) that you place around your room. We call these markers “pointcodes” and we’ve designed them to be detected and identified in camera images very quickly, even when they are small or if there are many of them in view at once.

Thanks to the joy of maths [or math for our American friends] and our crack team of software wizards the ZapBox app is able to build a map of where all the pointcodes are in your room, and then use that map to work out your exact position and viewing direction using the pointcodes it can see at any time. We also use pointcodes on the ZapBox controllers to allow us to fully track them in 3D whenever they are visible to the camera.

As well as Mixed Reality, ZapBox can also offer Room-Scale Virtual Reality experiences. The virtual content can completely cover up the camera feed shown in the background, putting you into an immersive, entirely virtual environment that will react to your movement in space. Any motion of the controllers in the real world will also be accurately mapped into the VR view to provide natural interaction with content.”

Backing the project entitles me to the Developer + Beta Bundle which includes:

  • ZapBox Mixed Reality kit
  • Beta access to ZapBox app
  • Beta access to ZapWorks Studio for ZapBox
  • PDF print-at-home pointcodes and controller nets
  • Hosting for 10 experiences from your personal ZapWorks account

What am I going to do with it?

Just as Google Cardboard helped to bring virtual reality to the mainstream via simple, inexpensive and easy to use hardware and software, I think ZapBox has the potential to unleash the same possibilities for mixed reality.

Besides looking like a whole lot of fun, I’m hoping that ZapBox will also provide me with another tool to quickly develop prototypes for the mixed reality concepts I’m currently exploring.

When I’ve received the kit and had a play around with it, I hope to blog about my experience and fill you in on what I’ve learned.

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