Last week we were excited to host our ‘Zapbox Mixed Reality Meetup’, designed to give a lucky few an exclusive first look at, our long-awaited mixed reality headset, *Zapbox as well as a chance to get hands-on with the headset and ask all their most pressing questions.
*Zapbox is the world’s most affordable smartphone-powered mixed reality headset, featuring two active 6DoF controllers and a lightweight headset with a 100-degree field of view. Zapbox makes next-generation immersive 3D experiences available to everyone.
We had a jammed packed evening filled with talks (including a surprise announcement from our CTO Connell Gauld), demos and some excellent pizza. It was a real treat to see so many XR enthusiasts come together to learn more about Zapbox, discuss the possibilities of mixed reality and put the headset to the test.
Zapbox mixed reality highlights
During the evening we heard from different members of the Zapbox team, including Kirk Ewing, Zapbox General Manager and Simon Taylor, Zappar Co-Founder and Chief R&D Officer who shared everything you’d need to know about Zapbox. Here are some of the highlights…
Zapbox is affordable. At just £79.99, Zapbox is the most affordable smartphone-powered mixed reality headset on the market.
Our Unity SDK will allow you to build Zapbox content in the world’s most popular game engine. The headset is lightweight with 100 Degree FOV, this large field of view makes Zapbox perfect for immersive content with open peripheral vision to maintain awareness of your real world.
We pride ourselves in content compatibility. Zapbox comes with two active 6DoF controllers, compatible with other popular headsets meaning you can more easily port existing Unity projects to Zapbox.
Zapbox uses video pass-through instead of optical see-through to seamlessly and convincingly overlay 3D content in the world around you.
Zapbox is easy to set up, easy to store and easy to onboard and updates with you as you update your device.
- Zapbox will be available to buy for £79.99 in May.
- Our very first Zapbox game will be House Party Pool.
- Zapbox will be partnering with OpenBrush for all your creative mixed reality needs.
- We also announced a lucky Zapbox winner…
Our secret reveal…
Amongst all the Zapbox excitement we also had another surprise to share, our 'One More Thing' moment in the form of new immersive 3D tooling for AR/VR/MR developers, which we're calling Mattercraft.
Mattercraft provides a fully-integrated 3D development environment for building interactive experiences for the web, including WebXR. We believe Mattercraft will become the go-to choice for building immersive experiences, from smartphone AR to content deployed to MR and VR headsets like Quest and Zapbox as well as 3D experiences for the web.
Want to learn more about Mattercraft? Register for beta access.
What our guests had to say…
We had some really lovely feedback from our guests during the Q&A, an exciting unboxing and a very special soundbite from John Meggitt CEO at Arcade The Creative Reality Company.
“I love the product. I think it's great.” Q&A
“First of all, thank you both so much for creating this technology. It really does feel like it makes use of things that we already have on-hand, like we have a phone that has good pass through, so why not turn that to an accessible thing? So thank you. Brilliant idea.” Q&A
We asked John Meggitt what his first impressions were after his demo:
“Really good. I was expecting it to be an AR experience through the outline of a phone. And then in my peripheral vision, I could see the real world, because that's kind of what it looks like. You've got your phone in front of your face. But I didn't see the phone. It was literally like the phone had disappeared. So it was more similar to a passthrough experience on a dedicated, expensive, MR device. And that was the biggest shock for me that, having done passthrough on the Meta Quest Pro, the difference between that and this wasn't that great, whilst the difference in, you know, how it's done and what it costs and what it takes is, so that was astounding. Yeah. So a very, very good impression.”
Top mixed reality questions
With so many XR experts in one room we were really excited to hear what questions our guests would come up with and they did not disappoint.
Do you have a vision for where you see Zapbox being used, where you want it to be used in the near future?
“In the first instance content is a challenge, for our launch to consumers we are investing in our own original content like Zapbox Pool. It is a game with a fairly simple mechanic that you can play with others, no matter where they are, for example when Kirk is in Edinburgh we play pool together. We want to develop more content like this to offer real value and also make it more of a consumer proposition.”
“Education is a space I am interested in implementing Zapbox as thanks to the affordable price point, it doesn't matter if it gets chucked across the room in a classroom. However if someone chucks your Quest or Quest pro across the room, people will be sent out for quiet time. For things like education, we have created a device that is more accessible, more affordable and less traumatic if it were to get damaged.”
Android Phones come in all shapes, sizes, costs and they're all not created equally. What sort of level are we talking about here in terms of being able to use this? Could we get a £99 phone and will it work? Or is this all a limit of where we can start to use this for android?
“On the Android side for the first target, it's going to be the higher end and specifically probably recent Snapdragons because they have a lot of the extensions that are also used in quest to make for good VR. We won't artificially limit what devices can and cannot be used. We will have a list of officially supported and tested devices while also providing access to WebXR experiences which can be loaded at home. This will allow users to test the performance of their device and try before you buy. The end goal is to have Zapbox working with any and all devices.”
With respect to the low price point and Android targeting, what are your thoughts on targeting this device towards developing countries?
“Yeah, I think it's really interesting. It's a sort of learning for us. What's the term for if you're doing a course on plumbing or Welding or they those vocational courses and we've had some discussion with people who build VR experiences for those who see this as a great way of making that more accessible, I think it's the same, point about how well does it work on those lower end devices that we’re a bit early to say right now. So it's not a current focus, but I definitely want it to work as well as we can make it work. And hopefully there is a great low level device, low price point device, that will work really well with it. That makes that a really interesting use case.”
Now that Zapbox has made its debut appearance there is no stopping us, our next stop will be AWE in Santa Clara where there will be lots more to share and more from Connell on Mattercraft.
Senior Marketing Manager, Zappar