Wearality Sky has surpassed half of its crowdfunding goal of $100,000 for their VR smartphone adapter, a device that offers a 150 degree field of view (FOV) for 5–6 inch phones. With former Google Chief Technology Advocate Michael Jones signing on as new CEO of the startup, adding to the already major league cast of the project, the sky’s the limit (sorry).
Wearality Sky’s main selling point is all about the optics, which offers an impressive 150 degree horizontal FOV, a size that comes close to covering the entire span of the human eyes’ natural FOV of ~180 degrees, according to the company. Arguably more important though is the portability of these high FOV frames, which feature a fold-up design that lets you store it easily in a space as small as a front shirt pocket so you can always have it at the ready for whenever a relative or friend inevitably says “VR? I’ve never tried that.”
As Wearality’s Kickstarter campaign has surged past the half-way mark, a new face has appeared to take on the job of CEO for the new startup: Michael Jones, former Chief Technology Advocate of Google. Jones originally came to Google through the 2004 acquisition of his company Keyhole Corp, the minds that developed the technology used today in Google Earth. Jones also previously served as chief technologist of Google Maps, Earth, and Local Search.
Jones has replaced David A. Smith as CEO, who is concurrently working as Chief Innovation Officer at Lockheed Martin. Signed on to the project is also long-time VR advocate and developer Mark Bolas, director of the ‘MxR’ Mixed-Reality Lab at USC and lead on the FOV2GO project, an early Cardboard-like smartphone adapter, and one of the projects that Rift inventor Palmer Luckey worked on in his pre-Oculus days. Long-time computer scientist Alan Kay is advising on the project, joining Vi Hart, founder of eleVR.
Along with the new CEO, Wearality has also added a few more goodies since the last time we checked in with the campaign. ‘Early Adopter’ dev kits now feature removable blinders that help close off the open rim design of the device, helping to limit the amount of light enters from the outside world and increasing immersion. We’d like to see more of a closed design eventually but there’s a balance between performance and portability to be considered.
The $69 basic funding tier is still available at the time of this writing, which the company says is a “significant reduction [in cost] from expected retail.” Check out Wearlity Sky’s Kickstarter for more additional reward tiers.