Virtual reality goggles may be the “next big thing” but does that mean they have to cost so much? The Merge VR Goggles does the job without huge costs by making your smartphone — be it Apple or Android — the technical “heart” of it all. This lets the Merge VR provide the support system, which translates into the chassis holding the phone and the tech needed for being able to view it correctly. So since a retail of $59.99 is no barrier, let’s start with how it get virtual reality from “out there” to “in there” where your eyes are going to be.
The Merge VR is made of a soft foam material and comes in basic black or stand-out purple. The procedure for use is really simple: you insert the phone horizontally through the slit at the top and secure it in place via friction and gravity (to remove, push up through a slot at the bottom). Then you place the other end over your face and secure it using a strap system. Fine tuning consists of adjusting the width of the two interior lenses so that match up with your eyes — the illumination being provided by the touch screen. Glasses wearers need not fear as there’s plenty of room to stick one’s face in, plus for all its comfort and softness, the foam composing the Merge VR is tough enough to stand abuse as well as protect the phone inside. It also makes for less impact should the person wearing it accidentally bump into something.
So that takes care of the setup, now what about watching stuff? Provided is a special app called VR START and its purpose is to aggregate those various virtual reality videos that now dot the Internet. So it makes finding expected VR content as well as never-thought-of easy. Games are there, but so too are educational and scientific and many other kinds so there’s plenty for everyone. And of course there’s other sources to go to as well, such as YouTube.
For those wondering — which is all of us — there’s no need for a dedicated controller when viewing/using virtual reality. The Merge VR builds in two buttons (left/right) that allow for performing two different actions simultaneously, such as running and jumping or steering left and right. These buttons work by physically touching the touch screen in lieu of fingers for accessing onscreen controls. There’s also a slit designed for passing through a power cord or headphone cable, so as to continue charging the phone or for using headphones/earbuds.
Rated for ages 10+, the goggles fit modern smartphones such as the iPhone 6S/Galaxy S5 models and newer, and can easily be cleaned. There’s also a cutout that can be removed for future/possible uses with augmented reality (as it allows for the phone’s camera to see out). Virtual reality headsets need to access VR and do it efficiently and effectively, regardless of what they cost. The Merge VR Goggles does it all AND keeps the cost down.