It was only a matter of time. The iPad has been adapted for all sorts of intriguing and surprising purposes over the years (including, recently, a sex toy). Meanwhile, a number of enterprising organizations and individuals have sought to create makeshift virtual reality goggles out of people's readily available mobile devices (e.g. Google Cardboard). Now the two trends have converged: AirVR is a Kickstarter project from Toronto design firm Metatecture that seeks $20,000 in funding from backers to create an inexpensive headset for converting your iPad Mini (Retina) or soon-to-be-delivered iPhone 6 Plus into a portable virtual reality viewer.
It works as you might expect: slide the iPad Mini or iPhone 6 Plus into a bulky headset with two lenses displaying left-eye and right-eye imagery, respectively. Metatecture says it's already developed some initial apps for the product, and points out the headset also leaves all the ports on your iOS device open, so you can attach other potentially useful peripherals like a game controller. If successful, the company plans to begin selling its AirVR headsets for just $49 a pop in early 2015. "AirVR brings the magic of Virtual Reality with you everywhere you go," the Kickstarter campaign suggests. "Ditch the tangle of cables and experience VR anywhere in the world."
However, what's left unsaid is the fact that AirVR's headset, at least as proposed in the prototypes shown off on the Kickstarter page, would require sticking the iPad Mini or iPhone 6 Plus hardware directly over your face, limiting your mobility while playing and making you look like some sort of dark Cronenbergian visage/goofus. Are you annoyed by people holding their iPads in front of them to take photos? This is that times a thousand, so it's probably not the product for you. That said, Metatecture clearly put thought and craftsmanship into the AirVR project, and for those curious about virtual reality who don't have access to an Oculus Rift and are too lazy to make their own headsets, it may yet prove a viable alternative option.