Bridge: iPhone-ready VR/MR without a PC

There’s a serious lack of Apple acceptance in the VR world. Computer-based headsets only work with PCs, and mobile versions like Google Daydream and Microsoft HoloLens are designed for their respective company’s devices. The few headsets that can accommodate an iPhone are, well, made of cardboard. The discrimination against Apple has been attributed to the company’s tendency for weaker graphics. Thus, Apple customers haven’t really qualified for a mind-blowing VR experience…until now.

Bridge the gap

Enter Occipital’s Bridge: a headset designed specifically for iPhone 6, 6s, and 7. The product is, in short, a game-changer. Where other mobile headsets limit users to mere observation of landscapes, Bridge is one of the first to allow users to participate in their environment without external sensors. The device pairs with Occipital’s Structure Sensor and the iPhone camera to create “inside-out” positional tracking. This lets wearers move around and manipulate the landscape, instead of just look at it. Another unique feature is Bridge’s ability to switch between full-blown VR and mixed reality. It’s up to you whether you want to totally escape the real world or simply have it altered.

The most memorable part of Bridge is probably Bridget, a robot character that guides users through their VR experience. Bridget can play fetch and open up portals for exploration. Even if all this virtual reality experimentation only results in the ability to play fetch with a digital robot named Bridget, it will go down in history as a wild success.

A review by The Verge notes that making Bridge completely mobile means it’s bulky—especially when compared to headsets like Google Daydream. However, as the article puts it, “being able to digitally manipulate the environment around you is a big deal”, especially for an iPhone-compatible VR device. Bridge is sold in limited quantity for $499 (including a t-shirt!), but next March the headset is expected to break into the mainstream at a competitive $399.

Bridge is a revolutionary product in the fairly new market of VR/MR. The headset is mobile, works with iPhones, allows users to experience both virtual and mixed reality, and includes a cute VR guide robot. Apple should consider looking to Occipital for advice for their rumored AR venture!

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