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This Kit Brings Room-Scale VR to the iPhone

While Apple continues to suss out its plans for augmented and virtual reality, the only options left to iOS users are to invest in a PC or snag a Google Cardboard, or is it? According to UploadVR, a third option could soon exist in the form of Occipital. The company, which specializes in spatial computing, has recently unveiled its VR Dev kit priced at $500.

Comprised of a fairly large sensor attached to a smartphone-accommodating headset, the kit offers a 120-degree field of view (FOV). The setup will also provide positional tracking in addition to an immersive virtual environment. That means you can take advantage of room-scale VR, similar to the HTC Vive.

There's even a function where you use the sensor to map the room before you start your VR fun times. Ultimately, the room-tracking ability should cut down on motion-based simulation sickness.

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When the device is connected to your iPhone, Occipital claims that its Structure Sensor will be powered by part of one of your device's processor cores. That suggests the system won't be too taxing on the battery, which is a lingering problem with most mobile VR setups on the market. In terms of latency, the company claims any lag is less than 10 milliseconds.

The Structure Sensor is capable of delivering augmented reality in addition to VR, which could lead to some mixed-reality hijinx down the line. It also functions as a 3D scanner, allowing you to create high quality models with realistic physics.

Occipital's kit is a further nod to mobile VR's steady move towards positional tracking and augmented reality, putting it more on a par with the Vive and Microsoft's Hololens than Cardboard. Still, $500 seems a little pricey for a mobile configuration -- room tracking or no. But with few choices for iOS users, I'm curious to see how Occipital's device stacks up to the Samsung Gear VR as well as the Vive.