Dan Thurber and Brooke Linville want to be first in line when virtual reality becomes mainstream.
An assortment of blocky headsets is scattered across the kitchen table in the couple’s East Boise home, showing the evolution of Thurber’s yearlong effort to perfect a mobile virtual reality headset.
Once an expensive novelty, virtual reality headsets are expected to become broadly accessible when Facebook’s Oculus Rift is released worldwide in early 2016. The Rift headset will plug into a computer, giving virtual reality its first true console. It is listed at $350, though experts expect the price to fall ahead of the release.
But Thurber and Linville believe that tethering the headset to a computer will limit one of VR’s greatest potentials: moving your real body to dictate the movement and game play on the virtual plane. They have created a VR headset they say will be compatible with almost any smartphone.
Thurber and Linville, who are married, say their headset and their company, IonVR, are the first to do this. They say their set has solved motion-sickness problems that dogged previous mobile VR efforts, including the affordable and mass-produced Google Cardboard, a $4 cardboard headset that holds plastic lenses and a phone whose screen image is split into two, one for each eye.
They say interest picked up after IonVR was featured by Forbes. Now they hope to bring their headset to market before they lose their head start on competitors.