LAS VEGAS, NV --Merge wants to introduce your kids to VR. The company announced the Merge Mini, a smaller version of its lightweight smartphone-based VR headset designed to fit the heads of kids better than previous models.
Virtual reality is exciting technology and every day, more and more people are experiencing its magic for the first time. When people have a great experience in a headset, it's only natural for their kids to want to experience the fun, too. However, today's VR devices aren't well suited for children because the lenses are spaced too far apart. Most headset makers warn that kids younger than 13 shouldn't use the devices because the headsets can't accommodate their narrow interpupillary distance (IPD).
Merge isn't trying to expose young children to VR prematurely, but it also doesn't think you have to wait until you're 13, either. The company created the Merge Mini to give kids age 10 and older a chance to try VR (and AR—the device has a camera passthrough). The Merge Mini shares the same features as the Merge Goggles, but in a scaled down package that's better suited for small hands and small heads.
Like the Merge Goggles, the Merge Mini features a "marshmallow-soft" foam rubber construction, which allows it stretch to fit adults, too. The foam rubber construction is also moisture resistant, which makes it easy to clean. The soft construction also absorbs impact forces and protects your phone if you drop the headset.
Merge said that the lenses in the Merge Mini are adjustable like the larger model, but the new device has a narrower IPD adjustment. It's unclear whether the maximum IPD width is narrower in the Merge Mini compared to the Merge Googles.
As with the Merge Googles, the Merge Mini supports most recent iOS and Android phones. Merge didn't release a list of compatible phones, but we suspect the largest mobile devices won't fit inside the Merge Mini headset.
Merge said that the Merge Mini would be available in Summer 2018. The company plans to sell the kid-friendly VR device for $30.
Originally published on Tom's Hardware.
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.