review

ZapBox 2.0 Mixed Reality Cardboard Headset With Clip On Fisheye Lens

Friday, April 19, 2019

Picture see-through holographic images and 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects and you have a thing called, mixed reality or MR. Mixed reality is the future of augmented virtual reality and is being spear-headed by the likes of Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap.
Mixed reality technology is amazing but it isn't exactly within reach of most people costing almost two thousand pounds for a Magic Leap One headset
Fortunately though, with ZapBox 2.0 mixed reality cardboard you can get a taste of HoloLens and Magic Leap mixed reality on the cheap!
As far as compatibility, the ZapBox 2.0 works with any 720p resolution and higher resolution smartphone but the phone must have a gyroscope built-in to it.
If you are unsure, there are a few ways you can check whether your smartphone has a gyroscope sensor in it.
One way to tell is by running the Pokemon Go, Google Cardboard, Cardboard Demos or Google Sky Map mobile apps on your phone as these apps make use of the phone's gyroscope to tell the direction towards which your phone is pointed.
Talking about Google Cardboard, ZapBox 2.0 is also compatible with Google Cardboard mobile apps, as well as ZapBox 1.0 (the original version).
The other way to tell whether your phone has a gyro sensor in it is by playing a 360-degree video in YouTube.
If you can rotate the view in different directions by moving your phone up and down, then your phone has a gyroscope.
ZapBox 2.0 also works with any screen size smartphone though again, the larger the screen size the better the experience because more content is able to be displayed.

same form factor as Zap-In-A-Box
ZapBox 2.0 also supports iPhones but no older than the 4.7-inch Retina HD display iPhone 6 and later iPhone models (including iPhone X) but excluding the iPhone SE.
There is full Android compatibility as long as the Android device is running a version of Android operating system no older than Android 4.1. However, it is best to use an Android phone running at least Android 5.0 for a better experience.
lens can be adjusted up and down the slider
The ZapBox fisheye camera lens optics produce a clear, ultra wide circular field of view (somewhere between 100 to 180 degrees). 

Fisheye lenses are technically wide angle lenses with the main difference being regular wide lenses produce panorama-like field of view. 
rubberized backing
ZapBox fisheye lens view
While similar in simplicity to other cardboard virtual reality (VR) headsets, ZapBox 2.0 is more versatile combining elements of both augmented reality (AR) and VR for a mixed reality (MR) experience and without the need of a see-through display.
ZapBox 2.0 literary renders a live video feed of the real world you see in the background while rendering the virtual content on top of the live video feed in a similar fashion to The Boy with his head stuck in a book pop-up book and The adventure suit.
fisheye lens adapter clip on
ZapBox 2.0 live video feed is not as natural as a see-through glass screen display but using the live video feed is clever because the real world you see transforms into a virtual world without having completely shut off from the real world like you would with a mobile phone virtual reality headset where you go searching for objects in an unreal environment.
With ZapBox 2.0, objects can actually come to you and appear anchored in a real environment similarly to Pokemon GO where Pokemons show up in the real world when you look through your phone's camera lens.
The white/black checkered grid on the inner packaging box lid helps you calibrate your phone. You have to make sure the blue grid and dots are aligned to successfully complete the calibration.
ZapBox 2.0 alignment process is straightforward but maybe somewhat daunting for some users as there are five different alignment screens to go through and some screens can take a few tries to get the calibration correct. Calibration is needed whether you use the included fisheye lens adapter or not as you cannot proceed to "build map" and launch stages.
Before you can start using ZapBox 2.0 with the ZapBox mobile app the camera lens has to be calibrated with your phone.
ZapBox 2.0 is overall a more refined experience than the Google Cardboard virtual reality experience because ZapBox 2.0 integrates stereo view 3D tracking and fully interactive handheld controllers that you can use to track and suspend objects in the real 3D world (x/y/z) space.
Compared to other VR cardboard headsets, the ZapBox 2.0 cardboard viewer is similar in design but with a cut-out opening for the included clip-on fisheye lens which produces a larger and immersive, augmented field of view.
Latency isn't an issue with ZapBox 2.0 and although you can experience a bit of lag the transition is pretty smooth without being jumpy.Ultimately, how much or how little latency you experience during the ZapBox 2.0 mixed reality experience depends on the hardware/software of your phone (i.e. fast camera sensor).
ZapBox 2.0 other half of the equation is the mobile application software that makes the magic of ZapBox 2.0 mixed reality possible. The ZapBox mobile app lets you build maps as well as calibrate both with and without the ZapBox fish-eye lens.
The ZapBox mobile app features six experiences to choose from including aquarium, mission mars, the claw, ZapBox pop, xylophone and mini golf.
Inside ZapBox 2.0 box, you get a headset cardboard, a sticky head strap, a ZapBox fish-eye lens, eight world pointcodes and two controllers with trigger mechanism.
ZapBox 2.0 outer packaging box is 3cm thick (32.5cm long and 23.5cm wide), meaning ZapBox 2.0 contents come flat-packed like Ikea furniture.
world pointcodes
Luckily, there is minimal assembly other than constructing the controllers which doesn't require glue as parts come pre-assembled so all you need to do is fold them into place. The whole setup of ZapBox 2.0 is very intuitive though a user guide is also included.

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