Mira Reality unveiled the Mira Prism yesterday and people immediately got excited about it.
The Mira Prism uses no electronics besides your iPhone and it works pretty simply. You have a semi-transparent screen in front of your face. Once you open the Mira app on your phone, you just slide it into the Prism and your screen will be reflected across your vision. The Prism seems to be fairly similar to the HoloLens and Google Glass.
Except, get this, the introductory offer is only $99.
This price is a huge jump from the HoloLen's $3,000 price tag, making it much more accessible. Which is smart because as AR filters into the mainstream more and more, there needs to be a mid-range for those who can't afford to splurge on a few thousand dollar headset.
With a price like that, as excited as people are, it also has them wondering how Mira Reality is able to sell this product for so little. Especially when the company boasts about how easy the Prism is to use, the quality of the picture you see, and the amount of things you can do on it. Headsets like that are not cheap.
The Prism works by letting you see real and mixed objects at the same time through the semi-transparent screen. From there you can play games and watch videos, although according to the Verge, so far they are mostly demos and Mira Reality is spending a lot of money now working on creating more content for the headset.
Once the images are projected, you can use a remote that comes with the product to control and play with what appears in front of you. The apps that you can use with the Prism are also collaborative, meaning you can connect with others who have the headset. If you don't have a headset, you can watch what your friend use it with "Spectator Mode" on the Mira Reality app. The Verge did a demo of the Prism and said that it has a nice field of view and works pretty well.
So what's the catch?
For starters, the Prism won't be shipping until around the holiday season this year and it's only compatible with the iPhone 6, 6s and 7. The advantage here is that once the ARKit rolls out everywhere, Apple's AR platform could easily be something that the company can utilize. For now, you can only use apps that are compatible with the Prism.
The quality of projected images is also reportedly not as clear or solid as those on the Microsoft HoloLens. This is likely because the graphics are reflections of a screen, in addition to how much more technology goes into the HoloLens.
The headset is also bulky. According to an interview done by TechCrunch with the COO of Mira Reality, Matt Stern:
We're definitely not encouraging people to walk around with it.
To be fair though, most AR headsets are too bulky to really be worn outside.
When it comes down to it, the main reason that the Mira Prism is so cheap is that there's no computer or camera tech inside of it like in the HoloLens or the Google Glass. All the tech is in your iPhone and the Prism just projects that tech through their app with mirrors and screens. While that might not make for the highest quality AR headset, it definitely makes it one of the most accessible.
The Mira Prism is available to pre-order on their website now.