Virtual reality is coming, whether your stomach can take it or not. This new form of technology, involving interacting with things that aren’t there, almost demands a new form of user interface. We’re not sure what those interfaces might look like beyond existing controllers but UK outfit Litho has a few opinions on the matter.
Litho is a new type of controller, one that bears a striking resemblance to the sling-ring from Marvel’s Dr. Strange. Only this one won’t let you teleport yourself to and from the top of Mount Everest. Unless you’re talking virtual reality, in which case it’ll totally allow you to do that. And allow you to explore and interact with your virtual surroundings, without any of that pesky freezing to death. Or you could just use it to control your smart home tech.
The Litho is made up of touch sensors on both sides, and several sensors that live inside it. It’s got haptic sensors on the inside and uses LED to show users the device’s status. It’s designed to live in your pocket, only to be whipped out as you manipulate your lights. Or something even less tangible.
Litho was originally created to work with Microsoft’s Hololens but has been expanded to function (mostly) with Apple’s AR functions using ARKit. As an augmented reality controller, it looks quite effective in a virtual or mixed-reality setting, but it also has possible applications as an around-the-smart-home device controller. There’s basic support for Hololens, as well as Android’s ARCore. The company has a Unity-based SDK out to “…let developers quickly create AR experiences using Unity and the LITHO controller.”
Want one? The dev kit will cost buyers $199 (about R2,800) but the company hopes to make the final product cheaper than $100 (R1,400 or so). It’s set to launch, soon, but there’s no indication when a retail version will be out. Or what it’ll actually do when it launches. Still, we can think of a few ideas.