Meet the Merge Cube, dubbed ‘a hologram in your hand,’ a $14.99 foam cube that is about to change the way you view AR.
Made by a company called Merge VR, their product is a foam cube with weird, seemingly random squiggles all over it. Upon first glance, it may not seem like much. Its size is like a Rubik’s Cube and as is soft as a sponge. But pair it up with your Android or iOS cellphone and you have something else entirely. It is the bridge between AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality).
The Cube can be used with just your cellphone. However, the Merge Goggles ($59.99) is recommended to get the full VR/AR experience (a normal VR Headset can work but it is not as efficient).
It works like this: you open the Merge platform, called Merge Miniverse, on your phone and select which game or app to view. think of it as having its own App Store. The phone then adds an overlay to the Cube (the squiggles, man!) and voila! The future is literally in your hands.
Some of the apps currently available allow you to care for a virtual Octopus (Octopet), explore human anatomy or build with blocks (Minecraft style). They have also made the SDK tools available for developers to make their own apps; which means more people creating more games and apps for us to have fun.
But this can be used for much more than just fun. The simple, yet powerful premise of the Cube makes it possible for people to learn in a new, interactive 3-Dimensional way. This gives training an interesting yet educating new approach.
Those of you itching to purchase it, however, may have to wait a while. It is only available in Walmart for the moment, but will be available to a wider market as this month progresses.