Recently during the week of Oculus Connect 4 I was able to check out a product that has been on my radar for a while and was really looking forward to try. Mira's mobile powered Prism headset is a fun AR headset that actually exceed what I thought it would be like. I am not the only one impressed by this early version of the product.
More affordable than the $3,000 HoloLens and the $949 Meta2, Mira uses an iPhone for the headset's brain. Mira apps run on an iPhone, and the iPhone screen is part of the display.
"Right now this is the only accessible hardware solution for AR," Mira CEO Ben Taft said.
"This is really a vehicle to deliver our software platform and the content we're cocreating," Mira COO Matt Stern said. "It's all about creating an accessible solution that people aren't scared of — not putting a big machine on their head that costs multiples of $1,000."
Having used both Meta2 and HoloLens I am very impressed at what this $99 dollar headset is capable of. To be fair I was absolutely blown away when I first tried Meta2. http://www.catsandvr.com/blog/meta2
While the Mira Prism did not have the same effect on me it did show me that a small startup can make a very well designed product. The Mira team worked closley with the designers at Astro Studios to realize their vision for an augmented reality world. http://www.astrostudios.com/work/mira
Mira worked with Astro to create a sleek product that is not only comfortable enough to walk through a conference with no issues. At no point in time did I feel that the headset would fall off or did I have any trouble seeing outside of the devices AR field of view to still walk around.
The field of view was also very impressive with the device being very capable of allowing for a interactive game that had responsive lag-less controls. The team brought along 3 very colorful demos that showed off the degree of visual fidelity the Prism is capable of.
Perhaps the thing I am most impressed with the fact that the front lens can come off! Yes that is an exclamation mark. I used to work for an AR startup that had their lens placed in away that it could easily crack or snap off when people tried to adjust the lens on combiner unit. This made for a customer service nightmare. The team at MIRA have just saved themselves a lot of money by making the lens so easy to come off. This also opens up the possibility of mods and additional acessories.
The Mira team will still need lots of dev support to make this a must have product and still need to grow the brand in order to appeal to the demographics their marketing materials often show. As the misspelling of the company name is shown in the tweet below Mira is not yet a social media name yet alone a household one.
Mira Prism has been described as the Google Daydream for AR and given the sleek design of the product it is easy to see why. The core difference here is that the product has a much more instant gratification aspect to it and can be used in a social environment with others as shown by the level of interest in the product during the week of Oculus Connect 4.
All in all I was hyped about Mira Prism when I first heard about it and I am now more hyped to see what developers can build for it. This is NOT Google Cardboard for AR. The Mira team has created an elegant, friendly, well designed and well priced way for consumers to experience AR. The product could be a great way to get AR in the doors of many people and ACTUALLY want more AR. That could be a boon for developers in the long run, we just need to see what developers can bring to the table to make the Mira Prism a potential Holiday time hot item.