Low-cost Ghost AR headset promises MacOS multitasking on steroids

Everyone up to Apple CEO Tim Cook, head of one of the world’s most valuable companies, thinks that augmented reality is going to be big. However, it’s not quite there yet. Two reasons for this are the high price of AR headsets and the fact that if you’re not willing to spend those kind of big bucks, you’re stuck using AR on your tiny smartphone screen. But Los Angeles-based creative director Jean Helfenstein thinks he’s come up with a solution in the form of a new AR headset, called Ghost, that boasts a more affordable price tag.

A bit like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard, Ghost keeps the price down by using your smartphone as the main screen. Unlike Gear VR or Cardboard, though, Ghost works by projecting images onto a pair of lenses for a lower-priced Google Glass effect.

“Other devices that use your smartphone exist, but they don’t deliver the same quality experience as Ghost,” Helfenstein told Digital Trends. “Our headset is the only one that can offer a wide and natural 70-degree field of view, a high-resolution OLED display up to 2880 x 1440, the tracking of user’s head movement with 6 degrees of freedom, and the ability to use the device in both AR and VR mode.”

What makes Ghost more ambitious than many AR projects is the fact that, rather than relying on an existing platform like Apple’s ARKit or Google’s ARCore, Helfenstein has gone it alone and developed his own Ghost OS.

It offers a number of impressive applications, including the ability to mirror MacOS applications in their own floating windows, which you can resize and place around you so that they hover in virtual space. Each window is fully interactive and can be used with your computer keyboard and trackpad the same way you would use any ordinary window. It’s a neat idea that promises to let you easily work with multiple applications without resorting to additional monitors.

As with any crowdfunding campaign, we advise caution when it comes to backing Ghost. That’s especially true given the scale of the operation, which places it firmly in adventurous “early adopter” territory. If you do want to get involved, however, head over to Indiegogo to pledge your support.

The headset will apparently work on the iPhone 6s or newer, both generations of the Google Pixel, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S8 handsets, and possibly other phones still to be announced. Prices start at $79. Provided that it can reach its funding goal, shipping is planned to take place in February 2019.