Augmented reality lies at two extremes. On the one side are wearable headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens, which costs between $3,000 and $5,000, and mixes virtual reality with augmented reality for a holographic experience. On the other side are free apps, like Pokémon Go, which use software and your phone’s camera to overlay graphics like cartoon characters onto the natural world.
Now a $30 augmented-reality kit called the Aryzon could fill the gap between exquisite, 3D experiences and cute, 2D games of chase. Like Google’s Cardboard for virtual reality, the Aryzon is made from cardboard, ships flat, and can be assembled in minutes. It was developed by a team of five industrial design students from the University of Twente in the Netherlands who were not satisfied with the cost of high-end AR, nor the cheaper experiences available for phones.
“Augmented reality existed, but for your smartphone it was still a 2D experience,” Alexander Ceha, the startup’s CFO, said.
This week, Aryzon launched a Kickstarter campaign and has already surpassed its fundraising goal of $28,116, with 31 more days to go.
According to Ceha, the Aryzon could appeal to educators, healthcare workers, product marketers, game designers, and engineers who use computer-aided design (CAD). The team plans to make the Aryzon’s software and design available through an open source platform, so that anyone can improve upon it.
“We don’t have a patent on the design,” Ceha said. “We want everyone to help us make it better, make a better experience.”