I write about the intersection of technology and culture
A couple of years ago if you were going to watch something in virtual reality (I'm using this term interchangeably with 360 videos here), the choice was so limited that you were perfectly content to wait till you got home, then fiddle with your phone and your Google Cardboard viewer. That's not the case anymore; there's oodles of content, created by your favorite directors, news sites, and even your friends. You want to see something, you want it right now, and unless you're an origami expert the likelihood you have a viewer in your pocket is pretty low. That's where Nabi virtual reality viewer comes in. Courtesy of Mocomtech, a South Korean company, the Nabi is packaged in a case roughly the size of an EarPods charger, and it unfolds into a pair of mini spectacles, the lenses using a specific focal length. The wedge center of this is designed to tidily click onto your phone, turning those two different perspectives into something easy to consume. It's groundbreaking in the 'why has nobody thought of this earlier' way and is now patented in the US, so unlikely to be immediately ripped off. The name means 'butterfly' in Korean, and the device does shut and open like wings, so there's your meaning, I guess.
Nabi VRMOCOM VR
It's not 'VR' inasmuch as you won't get the type of picture you'd get from an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, nor does it have any interactive capabilities. But what it does, it does well; provides a quick way to view 360 videos on the go in a sleek hygienic package. I've been playing with this for a couple of weeks since I ran into it at the Augmented World Expo 2018, and have been impressed with its solid construction, and durability. I didn't even realize this was missing from my life till it arrived and now I'm blown away it took so long to get here. From public events to personal use, the applications for this little gadget are limitless. I'm not the only one who thinks so; at a recent three day VR show in Busan, they were sold out in one day and had to get restocked.
Man using Nabi VR viewerNABI VRToday In: Consumer Tech
I'll be honest, you won't look very cool using it, but when did VR ever make anyone look anything but dorky? At least this way you don't literally have a cardboard box on your head.