Some months ago I’ve talked you about a very interesting project in the AR world: Aryzon, the cardboard of augmented reality. It is an augmented reality viewer that tries to emulate what Cardboard has been for virtual reality: a cheap entry point for the technology.
So, while Hololens costs $3000 to provide you a premium AR experience with a standalone device (even if it has lots of issues nonetheless), Aryzon costs only 1% of the price of Hololens ($29.99 on its website) and offers you very basic AR. It is made of cardboard and you use it by putting your smartphone inside of it. The quality of the experience is far inferior of course, but it can give you a taste of what AR is. The genius idea of Aryzon is that it doesn’t make you experience AR through the screen of your smartphone (like ARKit or ARCore, for instance), but through a semitransparent glass, as the premium AR headsets. The image on the phone screen gets reflected until it reaches the glass and you, looking through this glass, see the augmented reality. That’s fantastic.
Today my Aryzon package has arrived and I’ve been able to try it. My buddy Max has advised me to try something different, so we made a full series of videos with the unboxing, the assembly and my first impressions and then we published it on Youtube! Mom, I’m a youtuber now! 😀
If you want to see it, here you are the videos in the below sections! I’m very curious about your impressions of Tony the Youtuber!
In the videos, you’ll find all my detailed process of unboxing, assembling and my first impressions on the device. But if you’re in a hurry or you don’t like videos, I’ll report my general impressions with some lines of text too… because actually Tony loves to be a blogger and feels less comfortable as a youtuber!
Unboxing of Aryzon is very very simple: there is a slim box with easy opening and inside there you find all the pieces to assemble your headset. I found very interesting that Aryzon has provided its users already the markers to try the experience: they’re also made of cardboard, so they’re very resistant. It is very comfortable that you don’t have to print the markers yourself (I’ve still some Metaio men printed sheets somewhere on my desk). Another thing that I appreciated is that the headset is almost assembled by itself… so it is not like the first cardboards where you had tons of pieces you had to assemble together becoming mad, it is simpler.
Assembly is quite easy, but the instructions are not completely clear. The package includes some printed instructions, but unluckily on a 2D piece of paper is hard to write some origami instructions that require movements in 3D. Aryzon guys understood that these instructions were hard to follow, so they created a step by step video inside the app. A Very smart idea… but following the instructions both on the video and on paper, I managed to assembly something wrong nonetheless. Some steps are not that clear: I put some velcro circles in the wrong manner (that was in part my fault, though), having, in the end, the same type of velcro on both the sides that should stick together; I had various issues in trying to perform the second fold, since the cardboard had bent a bit and pieces didn’t fit one into the other; I had issues in installing the headband, since the step by step video doesn’t teach how to install that. I’m not meaning that instructions are bad: I’m saying that they could be better.
Once you know how to perform the assembly, however, it is not hard at all.
As I say in the video: you get what you pay for. AR experience is there, is real… you really see the world with some virtual elements on it, as if you were wearing the Hololens. Aryzon purpose is exactly the one of giving you a taste of AR and in doing that, it is perfect. When the tutorial launched and I started seeing colored streamers in front of me, I was actually amazed by the augmentation of the real world that I was having.
The problem is that the experience is far worse than the one with Hololens:
- Visuals are a bit distorted;
- FOV is low, a problem that they share with all AR viewers out there;
- It doesn’t work without a marker and if you don’t look at the marker, you see nothing or duplicated visuals;
- Depth of objects is not always correct: I saw objects appearing below the marker, while they should be on top of it;
- If you move your head, objects fluctuate around the marker and do not stay still in place: I almost got seasickness;
- You have no way to trigger things (no clicker, tapper, trigger or such): you can only use gaze;
- Since the smartphone has to perform AR tracking and stereoscopy, FPS is quite low and battery usage is quite high;
- There are some technical issues and bugs (e.g. tutorials halted in my case).
Some of these problems will get better when Aryzon will integrate ARCore and ARKit as they’ve promised, but some others will stay the same because of how the device is made.
Should you buy it?
My final impression is that Aryzon keeps its promises of being an entry point for AR.
So, buy it if you:
- Want to try AR spending few bucks;
- Want to start experimenting with AR development for little money;
- Are thinking about offering a branded AR experience to your customers for a marketing initiative: a lot of companies have used branded Cardboards, it could be interesting to offer some branded AR Aryzon viewers, too;
- Are an innovator and want to support innovative projects;
- Are a maker and like to assemble stuff;
Don’t buy it if you:
- Need a premium AR experience;
- Need something that works flawlessly;
- Need AR for enterprise uses where you need a high-quality product and business warranty conditions (e.g. training in a factory, medical applications, etc…);
- Don’t like to assemble stuff.
Hope you liked my review! My final advice is to try Aryzon by yourself by buying it on its official website. And if instead you already tried it, what are your impressions? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!
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