Wearality wants to make mobile VR even more mobile with their VR smartphone adapter that not only delivers a seriously wide field of view (FOV) at an impressive 150 degrees, but also folds up to fit neatly in your pocket.

wearality-sky

Wearality SKY may look like it’s from Revenge of the Nerds (1984), but these BC glasses pack a pair of double stacked Fresnel lenses, that according to the company will deliver a 150 degree horizontal FOV with an interpupillary distance (IPD) sweet-spot that will cater to everyone, regardless of how far your eyes are apart.

According to an engineer on the project, who responded to Reddit user pittsburghjoe’s question regarding the type of barrel distortion required to fit the high FOV device,

the necessity of ‘barrel distortion’ has actually decreased. [Wearality] has run internal tests using none and it has still been a wonderful viewing experience. However, using the default distortions built in to the Cardboard API work just fine.

The device is supposed to service 5-6 inch smartphone displays like those found on Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6. While its open air design allows it to be folded up into something truly pocketable—a claim that similar mobile VR viewers like Google Cardboard can’t make—we would gladly sacrifice some of the portability to get those sweet Lockheed Martin designed lenses in an enclosed casing, where outside light and curious glances won’t bother us.

‘Wearality SKY’ Kickstarter Campaign

Wearality SKY has an astounding pedigree of VR professionals behind it too, with the Chief Innovation Officer of Lockheed Martin, David A. Smith, as CEO of the company. Smith was last seen at AWE 2014 introducing Lockheed’s Wearality 1 and 2, prototype devices that respectively offer 150 and 180 degree FOVs. Along with his expertise in the field, Smith is bringing the high FOV lens design to the table.

In an technical adviser position to the project is Mark Bolas, the associate director of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies and lead on the research center’s FOV2GO project, the very same project that Palmer Luckey worked on back before his famous Oculus Kickstarter generated an astounding $2.4m.

Long-time computer scientist Alan Kay is also advising on the project, joining Vi Hart, Founder of eleVR and guest speaker at this year’s GDC in San Francisco. David Smith is also joining co-founder Gunnar Wieboldt, manager of Faster LLC angel investment firm.

wearalityupclose

While Wearality is claiming to have the widest FOV of any ‘head wearable display’, the term ‘wearable’ used by the company may require a bit of mental gymnastics to reconcile if they want to distinguish themselves from VR headsets with larger FOVs, like VR Union’s Claire 12M at 170 degree horizontal FOV. The ‘wearability’ of the device only comes into effect when the lens frames clip onto the brim of a baseball cap, which doesn’t sound like the most practical solution, or functionally any different from using a headstrap. Otherwise you’ll be holding Wearality SKY just like it’s lowly (but serviceable) cousin, Google Cardboard—and running the same apps too regardless of how you get the thing on your face.

Funding Tiers: Estimated Delivery Oct 2015

  • Pledge $49 EARLY BIRD PRE-ORDER: One commercial SKY head mount display (5″ or 6″) shipped prior to general release to market at a significant reduction from expected retail
  • Pledge $69 PRE-ORDER: One commercial SKY head mount display (5″ or 6″) shipped prior to general release to market at a significant reduction from expected retail
  • Pledge $79 EARLY BIRD PRE-ORDER + SUPPORTER: One commercial Wearality SKY phone display (5″ or 6″) shipped prior to general release to market at a significant reduction from expected retail. Plus one Kickstarter limited edition Wearality hat and T-shirt (S, M, L, XL, XXL)
  • Pledge $99 PRE-ORDER + SUPPORTER: One commercial Wearality SKY phone display (5″ or 6″) shipped prior to general release to market at a significant reduction from expected retail. Plus one Kickstarter limited edition Wearality hat and T-shirt (S, M, L, XL, XXL)
  • Pledge $129 EARLY BIRD + EARLY ADOPTER: One Kickstarter limited edition Wearality Sky for 5” or 6” phone display that ships within 30 days of close of campaign. Kickstarter limited edition Wearality hat and T-shirt (S, M, L, XL, XXL). Invitation to participate in Wearality beta testing and advisory community.
  • dashmaul

    So it’s basically Google Cardboard with better lenses and greater FOV?
    Hmm, does not seem to be in same league as GearVR, let alone the Rift and the Vive

  • Patrick Hogenboom

    Backed it.
    I want to experience what 150 degrees of freedom feels like and portability can come in pretty handy too (didn’t spring for GearVR).

  • Stray Toaster

    No straps, no point.

  • AAAAAAA

    Backed as well! This project is significant because of the Lockheed Martin patented lenses. There is no other lens that offers 150 degree field of view in such a compact size. The field of view is good enough to cover a large portion of your peripheral vision! Smartphones that people upgrade every year or two will get faster and faster with higher resolution displays every year. Project Tango from Google and that new depth sensing chip from Intel will be out in our near future that will advance motion tracking features on our mobile phones as well. Why should we settle on 2 VR brands when projects like wearality will allow everyone convenient and portable access to VR on their smartphones? Sorry for the rant, but I felt like people are missing the point of this project.

  • mellott124

    I backed it as well. Looking forward to using the lenses with Google Tango tablet and possibly some other HMD mods. Very cool.