FAQ: All-new ZapBox: 6-DoF Mixed Reality for $40
For the most up-to-date information about the status of our project, check our project updates on Kickstarter!

Your shipping rates seem quite high - didn't you include shipping in the pledges for your previous campaign?

We did offer free shipping in our last campaign, but in the end made quite a significant loss per unit for the Kickstarter backers due to that decision (combined with designing a nice large box without checking on the shipping costs)!

Unfortunately the cost of shipping is determined by size and weight and not by value, so though $20 does seem a lot on top of a $40 item, it is what we estimate it will cost for US/EU/Canada.

The UK is a slight oddity here - combined shipping and fulfilment costs (shipping batch to UK + import duties, packaging and handling, and shipping) is likely to come in under $20, however the pledges will be considered inc VAT and as we do a lot of business in the UK we’re over the threshold where we need to be VAT registered. Kickstarter doesn’t let you do anything fancy with sales taxes, shipping is the only variable that can be controlled per region.

So one way of thinking about it for UK backers is to split the $60 pledge into $40 ZapBox, $8 VAT and $12 shipping. £37 for the product (inc VAT) + £9.25 shipping roughly at current exchange rates.

Last updated: November 26, 2020 06:39

What’s the field of view?

As a general guide, the horizontal field of view for content is very similar to that from the latest version of Google Cardboard. We have opted to slightly reduce the vertical content field of view to increase the amount of peripheral vision on the lower side, as this is particularly helpful when moving around your environment or trying to pick things up.

The exact field of view for content depends on both the size of the device being used and how the headset has been adjusted.

In terms of how it feels, when looking forwards the content dominates your vision, but when glancing downwards or to the sides you have a pretty clear view of the real world. It’s hard to get the feeling across either in words or in the campaign video, but it is actually a really nice balance that feels more immersive for VR use cases than you might expect.

The visualizations in the campaign video to demonstrate the impact of maintaining peripheral vision were actually filmed with the ZapBox app on an iPhone 7 Plus, so in fact the entire FOV shown there would be filled with content, and your peripheral view would extend outside that (and barely be visible unless you glance away from straight-on).

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

Can the headset accommodate different IPD settings?

The lenses will be moulded separately from the main part of the headset, so the design does theoretically allow for alternative IPD lenses to be provided and swapped out. Our current prototypes are based on the fixed inter-pupillary distance used by the latest Google Cardboard design (63.9mm) which we have found to be comfortable for all the users who have tried it out.

The current plan is to stick with this single IPD for the final product, though if we get into stretch goal territory and have a lot of requests from backers about supporting alternative IPDs then we’re open to reconsidering this…

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

How much does the headset weigh? Is it heavy on your head?

The headset is really light and comfortable - as a guide, our current 3D printed prototypes (without a smartphone inserted) weigh in at just 200g / 7oz.

The angle of the headband has been carefully designed so the weight of your smartphone is naturally supported by the shape of your head - it’s not necessary to support any of the weight on your nose. In fact when using the headset with glasses you will find the lenses and phone are held in position without any part of the headset touching your nose.

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

My device already has an ultra-wide camera. Do I need to use the camera adapter?

We will add support for choosing which camera to use in the app, so users with devices that have an internal ultra-wide camera with sufficient FOV will be able to use ZapBox without the camera adapter.

Our early investigation suggests the iPhone 11 and later ultra-wide cameras will be suitable for this. On android we have noticed that the ultra-wide cameras do not always have all of the same features as the “main” camera in terms of 60fps preview and manual exposure controls, so on these devices you may get a better experience by using the camera adapter on the main camera.

We’ll put the options in there so you’ll be able to choose what works best for your specific device.

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

How can you render stereo video see-through content with only one camera?

Usually headsets offering video-see through AR or MR would feature a camera for each eye so the live feed can also be shown in stereo.

In ZapBox we project the single camera on a simplified mesh of world geometry so we can then produce two different renders for each eye. This works really well when the actual world geometry is close to the model we use for the reprojection. For example a nice clear wooden tabletop will give you the correct stereo cues - content on the table will correctly line up in both eyes, and shadows will feel correct.

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

What’s the latency on the camera feed?

The exact amount of latency from the camera is device-dependent. However it is generally the case that motion sensor data is available with lower latency than camera frames. We’re planning to use this lower-latency motion data to adjust how we render the camera frames to minimize the observed latency during fast motion.

It’s important to bear in mind that ZapBox offers a new class of experiences. With the 360-degree video content popular with Google Cardboard headsets the user is almost encouraged to spin around quickly in case they’re missing some cool content going on behind them, and that’s why there’s been a push to minimize motion-to-photon latency in the mobile VR.

ZapBox content is fully anchored in 3D and we find this encourages much slower user motion. The content tends to be more “outside in” where you walk around things of interest rather than “inside out” where there are things happening all around you. These “outside-in” experiences are perfectly suited to ZapBox and are much less latency-sensitive than 360-degree videos.

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

Why not use hand-tracking rather than the controllers?

There’s a lot of interesting work going on in the computer vision community around performing natural hand tracking from a single camera. We’d certainly be interested in applying these techniques to ZapBox, but there are a number of challenges around performance (especially when combined with 60fps stereo rendering and world tracking), tracking quality, full 3D pose estimation, and correct stereo rendering.

The controllers provide great tactile and physical feedback, have a very clear “select” action thanks to the triggers, and work really well for experiences involving holding something virtual (such as virtual mallets in the Xylophone experience or the virtual golf club for mini-golf).

We’re convinced the future MR/VR ecosystem will feature both controllers and hand-tracking, but due to the ZapBox-specific challenges listed above our focus is on making the controllers work as well as possible as the primary input mechanism for ZapBox.

Last updated: November 02, 2020 04:01

Shipping Updates
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