Norwegian technology start-up Ludenso (formerly MovieMask) has started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for its augmented reality glasses for mobile devices, dubbed MagiMask.
MagiMask and its tracking system has been quietly in development for two years, and it is now available to preorder, priced at $99 and shipping in the first quarter of 2019. The company hopes the low price will be competitive against the $2,295 Magic Leap One Creator Edition and the $3,000 Microsoft HoloLens.
Ludenso wants to change the way people engage and interact with the world through MagiMask. The AR head-mounted display (HMD) supports AR-capable smartphones as large as Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Apple’s iPhone XS Max.
“We believe people have been led into the AR market with false hopes and outrageously expensive hardware. We have created a hardware platform for mobile AR using our unique head-mounted display and tracker kit. Our HMD works with 99 percent of the existing apps without customizations, and gives 100 percent augmented field of view (FOV) and improved resolution,” said Eirik Wahlstrøm, CEO of Ludenso, in a statement. “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.”
The flexible, soft fabric design of the MagiMask HMD is in part based on the company’s previous product MovieMask, which won a Red Dot Award for outstanding design alongside Google Daydream. One of MagiMask’s core technologies is its single-lens approach, which unlike all other mobile-driven stereoscopic headsets allows the user to view the full size of the smartphone screen, compensating for both accommodation (normal stereoscopic) and convergence.
One screen means that the resolution is not drastically cut as it is in other headsets, where the display only utilizes between 15 percent to 25 percent of the pixels. The result is a larger, clearer image with far better resolution, the company said.
The tracking system is made up of MagiTile, MagiKard, and MagiDice, which provide AR-optimized surface tracking that makes navigation possible (turning, action triggers, and so on). Users can explore, create, and learn on MagiMask using apps such as Augment, Kubity, and Sketchfab. Developers can create their own software, games, and applications for MagiMask and its tracking system.
“We have successfully launched three predecessors to MagiMask, and can’t wait to get this new headset out to tech enthusiasts, developers, and anyone else who loves AR as much as we do,” said Wahlstrøm. “Having spent almost two years developing MagiMask and its tracking system, we are now at the manufacturing stage and to ensure an on-time delivery we using our previous manufacturing partners. The money you put into the campaign goes directly toward creating the MagiMask you ordered. We have done all the developmental and technological hard work and are now just getting ready to manufacture.”
Ludenso was founded in May 2016 in Oslo, Norway by Wahlstrøm and Harald Manheim. The company has successfully developed and launched three versions of MovieMask. It has 10 employees and is privately funded.
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