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Merge VR brings innovative new VR/AR tech to CES 2017

Merge VR, a pioneer in affordable and easy-to-use VR headsets for smartphones, announced at CES 2017 two exciting new mobile virtual reality (VR) / augmented reality (AR) products that have the potential to redefine what’s possible with both technologies.

First is the Holo Cube, the world’s first holographic toy you can hold in your hand. This innovative cube can transform into 3D representations of objects, which can be rotated 360° right before your very eyes. Second is the Moonshot Motion Controller, a universal motion controller made specifically for mobile virtual reality. Let’s take a closer look at each:

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Merge VR Holo Cube

The Holo Cube is a groundbreaking new toy from Merge VR that places incredibly realistic holographic images in the palm of your hands. This amazing tech is made possible with a small patterned foam cube, about the size a Rubik’s Cube. There are two ways you can use the Holo Cube, offering different levels of freedom and immersion into the AR experience:

Using Holo Cube with a compatible smartphone and Merge app – The real magic of Holo Cube happens when you view the cube through one of dozens of AR experiences expected to be downloadable through the Merge app. These apps use your smartphone’s external camera to detect the cube in your 3D space, and like magic turn the cube into tangible holographic objects. There are so many different possible applications, from giving you a virtual pet to hold, to putting full 3D worlds before you, to placing educational 3D models of objects—say planets in our solar system—in your hands.

The above scenario with your smartphone placed inside a Merge VR headset – By slotting your smartphone into Merge VR Googles, you now have both your hands free to hold and manipulate the holographic objects. With this setup, the holographic image will appear naturally within your 3D environment, giving you an ultimate sense of immersion and realism. This is really the preferred setup, I would imagine, as you can freely rotate the holographic objects with both hands to see all angles, and easily move the object closer or farther away from your eyes depending on how you wish to view.

I’m really excited about the dozens of applications currently in development for the Holo Cube, and feel with proper support this cube could revolutionize play, as well as education in the sciences and arts. The Holo Cube will be compatible with most iPhone and Android devices, and is expected to be available later this year.

Merge VR Moonshot Motion Controller

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Also at CES 2017, Merge VR announced the world’s first universal motion controller, designed from the ground up for mobile virtual reality. This highly accurate motion controller has integrated sensors that can detect your natural motions in three dimensional space. Not only will the Moonshot Motion Controller be iPhone and Android compatible, it also works with Merge VR and many other VR headsets such as Samsung Gear VR, Oculus, Vive, and Microsoft HoloLens.

The Moonshot Motion Controller was developed at Merge Labs, the company’s R&D division that focuses on creating products that help merge the real world with the virtual. As someone who has tried a lot of different VR experiences, I know how important it is to have some means of being able to reach out and interact within virtual worlds. The Moonshot controller, when used in compatible VR apps, will enable you to grab and manipulate objects intuitively with you hand, drawing you even deeper into the VR experience. It’s amazing how small the motion controller is too, which looks tiny enough to fit into your pocket or small bags for easy transportation wherever you go.

Both of these new gadgets unveiled by Merge VR at CES 2017 look very promising and very exciting, I can’t wait to see more later in the year!

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