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Kickstart this clever phone-powered augmented reality helmet

by Jacob Kleinman | February 15, 2015February 15, 2015 5:00 pm PDT

Virtual reality is awesome, but you know what’s even better? Augmented reality. After all, why dive into a virtual world when you can fill the real world with digital images instead? The only problem is that augmented reality gadgets like Microsoft’s HoloLens probably won’t be available for years. Thankfully, one company has figured out how to delivery a similar experience in 2015.

SEER is an augmented reality headset available on Kickstarter right now that takes the simple genius of Google Cardboard and applies it to augmented reality. Basically, instead of snapping your phone into a headset and staring straight at the screen, SEER reflects images off your phone onto a transparent visor that lets you see the real world and a virtual one at the same time.

The headset works with Android and iOS smartphones ranging from 4 to 6-inches across, which should cover pretty much any major handset released in the past few years. SEER also supports a variety of inputs, ranging from regular video game controllers and joysticks to Leap Motion sensors. You can also control it by simply shaking your head, nodding left and right to scroll through a menu.

Caputer Labs, the company behind the project, even brought a prototype to CES last month, showing off an Iron Man-style heads-up display. For now, SEER is pretty limited in what it can actually do, but down the line the possibilities are endless. You could use it at work to create a virtual desktop computer for work, turn your home into an immersive video game, or even map out constellations while you stare up at the night sky.

If you’re interested you can pre-order SEER for as little as $99 on Kickstarter, though it won’t ship until Sept. 2015. If the early bird special runs out you can still grab an augmented reality headset for $119, or pick up two for just $169.

Caputer Labs is still finalizing its design, and admits that it needs to nail down a supplier for the specially-made one-way lens. Delays are always a possibility, though the company has plenty of time before it’s expected to start shipping the first order.

Normally we’d point to a decent alternative you can go out and buy right now, but the truth is there’s nothing like SEER available today. You could always wait around for HoloLens or some other gadget, but this is your best bet if you want to experience augmented reality in 2015.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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