Feb 18th, 2015

pinchvr

Ever wanted to be that guy in Minority Report who could control a holographic computer interface using his fingers? That exact technology is far off for an average consumer, but there are plausible virtual reality options out there to make it happen.

One such option is PinchVR. This company began its trek on IndieGoGo and proposed a smartphone case that can unfold into a full-fledged virtual reality headset. The virtual reality aspect of it isn’t quite that new — we’ve got Google Cardboard and other affordable options that combine with your existing smartphone to bring VR capabilities already.

It’s the “pinch” aspect of it that has us excited. The headset pairs up with a couple of nodes that go on your index fingers. This allows the company’s apps to track your hand movement and gives you a way to manipulate a user interface or play a game with your hands. This video should give you a pretty good idea of that experience:

Cool, right? Much of the work is done thanks to the phone’s camera. That, combined with an optical lens built into the frame of PinchVR, allows the PinchVR to track your hand movement with great accuracy.

Truth be told, the case aspect of the device doesn’t seem very appealing. I’d just as soon throw this into a backpack and opt to use something a bit more appealing (its remarkable thinness when folded up is quite the engineering job, though). That sort of flexibility is one of the many reasons why we love PinchVR — use it as a case if you want, or don’t. Your choice.

pinchvr 2

PinchVR also gets kudos thanks to being a fine virtual reality enclosure on its own. It works with any VR-enabled apps such as those made for Google Cardboard, so you’re not being tied down to one ecosystem of content.

Although the project reached its funding goal on January 22nd, you can apparently still opt-in for one at the company’s IndieGoGo page. $99 gets you the Pinch Discovery Edition, which includes the case in Metallic Black, two pinchers and full access to the SDK. A limited edition goes for $50 more and gets you the same setup, except you’ll get it in Metallic Red and you’ll have a numbered unit to note its scarcity. Replacement pinchers can be had as a pair for $29.

The company expects to begin shipping these things as soon as June 2015, though we’ll obviously have to wait and see if that holds up. These ambitious projects don’t often meet their deadlines without a few bumps and bruises along the way. No matter how long the wait ends up being, though, we’re sure it’ll be well worth it.

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