There is no getting around the $799 price tag on the HTC Vive, which is why one startup, on January 30th, by the name of NOLO VR launched a (already successful) Kickstarter campaign. The campaign describes this new system as:
The world’s first front-facing room scale motion tracking system that is both compatible with mobile and Steam VR game play. Put on your mobile headset and interact with the environment naturally, turning the usual passive VR experience into an active one.
The campaign received 100% funding ($50,000) in the first 8 hours and currently has over $120,000 funded.
NOLO VR is starting at $99 (with limited quantities left), shipped anywhere in the world and claims to be fully compatible with SteamVR. This means you would have access to Vive’s entire content library, according the creators of this project.
NOLO consists of two position tracked remote-like controllers, a singular base station, and a headset marker placed on top of any smartphone-holding VR device. The marker can fit most mobile headsets, including Gear VR, Google Daydream and Cardboard. The base station claims to feature a 100 degree field of view.
The setup is said to be compatible with Android phones right now, and iOS down the road. Quoted from the Kickstarter campaign:
For the Mobile VR mode, iOS is completely compatible and we will release an iOS SDK for developers.
For the SteamVR mode, NOLO is compatible with iOS, but RiftCat/VRidge (our partner for streaming the SteamVR games to your smartphone) doesn’t currently support iOS devices. They are working on making iOS devices compatible and expect to release this function before the end of 2017. However, the performance may not be as great as Android devices, because many functions are closed from developers on the iOS system.
We are also exploring other options, such as TrinusVR for iOS compatibility.
The solution can also be used with native mobile VR games that are developed with the setup in mind, and LYRobotix says it is preparing an SDK that’s compatible with both Unreal and Unity Engines, making this VR system good for more than just SteamVR.
For the price, we think that NOLO VR is well worth the money, although we haven’t got our hands on a set to try, yet. Let us know what you think!
Check out the Kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/243372678/nolo-affordable-motion-tracking-for-mobile-and-ste/description