All-new ZapBox improves access to immersive learning for educators

All-new ZapBox is a revolutionary step in Zappar’s mission to bring affordable Mixed Reality to the mass market and classrooms. ZapBox enables educators to build truly immersive, 6-DoF Mixed Reality (MR) and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences at an unrivaled price point of just $40. 

All-new ZapBox includes a radical new headset designed from the ground up to deliver immersive MR and VR experiences using existing smartphones. The headset offers an almost uninterrupted peripheral view of the real world that naturally blends into the immersive content displayed in front of the user in 3D. The video-see through setup for MR allows for fully opaque content and true blacks, whilst the direct peripheral vision keeps users feeling well-connected to the real world. A pair of 6-DoF controllers are also included to provide physical and intuitive interactions.

All-new ZapBox is perfect for educators who want to introduce immersive technologies into their classrooms, with the affordable price tag it's easier than ever for schools to find new and engaging ways for children to interact with their learning materials. To enable classroom learning, the Kickstarter includes individual tiers where up to ten can be bought in bulk for $300 - the price of one Oculus Quest.

Demo Experiences available to experiment with on the free ZapBox app include:

  • Aquarium: Learn about two of South Africa’s endangered species: the loggerhead turtle and the ragged-tooth shark;

  • Mission Mars: Explore the Earth and Mars in an educational piece about our place in the solar system;

  • Xylophone: Bring a virtual Xylophone to life and use both controllers to play your favorite songs.

“We wanted educators to be able to explore the possibilities of immersive 6-DoF MR and VR  experiences, without the high cost of entry for dedicated hardware,” said Simon Taylor, Co-Founder and Chief R&D Officer at Zappar.

“All-new ZapBox offers a great balance between affordability and capability that lets educators create impactful experiences that drive powerful learning in the classroom.

All-new ZapBox features:  

  1. Radical new headset design: A light and robust headset that is easily adjustable for different users and provides peripheral vision of the real world for comfortable MR and VR experiences.

  2. New lens shape: Removes the border of your device from your field of vision, meaning your peripheral vision outside the phone screen and the content you’re seeing on screen blend seamlessly together.  

  3. Live-hinged phone grips: Ensure your phone is held securely and centrally in place for the optimal stereoscopic experience, supporting a wide range of different device sizes.

  4. Reinvented controllers: All-new slimmer profile and visual tracking scheme that streamlines the look of the controllers whilst providing solid 6-DoF tracking.

  5. Robust world tracking: The new world anchors provide instant content placement and drift-free tracking, and other natural visual features in your environment are used for ultimate tracking stability.

  6. Unity plugin: Developers can build content using the world’s most popular game engine and publish their apps for ZapBox directly to the iOS and Android app stores.

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, an EdTech enthusiast and Co-Founder of Educators in VR, supports ZapBox:

“ZapBox is one of the most exciting products that are arriving in the Edtech sector. Not because they are the ultimate, most refined solution, but because they are making mixed reality super-accessible to learners and teachers around the globe. This is something we can get our teeth into NOW rather than having to wait for years to be able to afford it. Most people have a smartphone - Zapbox takes that smartphone to another dimension.”

Building on top of Zappar’s Layered report findings that immersive experiences drive almost double the amounts of visual attention and 70% higher knowledge retention in learners, all-new ZapBox takes classroom learning to a new level, enabling teachers (and their students) to approach learning in a completely different way, improving engagement and knowledge retention at an unrivaled price point.

Caspar Thykier, Co-Founder and CEO at Zappar commented:

“The form factor for All-new ZapBox with it's open headset and peripheral vision makes it easier and safer  for students and teachers alike to be aware of their surroundings which is also important.” 

Zappar have also announced a ZapBox SDK for Unity developers alongside its own ZapWorks content authoring platform  increasing the opportunity for developers to create content for education that can be served through ZapBox.

All-new ZapBox  launched on Kickstarter last week and has already achieved 50% of its  funding goal of $65,000. Backers can choose between a range of tiers to support the campaign, including a $40 pledge for a single unit, and a 10-pack available at the $299 pledge level - the same price as a single Oculus Quest 2. The campaign follows the success of the initial cardboard iteration on Kickstarter in 2016, which raised 280% of its funding goal thanks to the support of 1,854 backers.

Device support for the all-new ZapBox will include all iPhones from the iPhone 6S and newer and also recent Samsung S-series and Google Pixel smartphones.

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