ZapBox is a Microsoft HoloLens for $30

Mixed reality hoots at a hundredth of the cost

Mixed? As in, middling? Highs and lows?

No, mixed as in what you see through your headset is a mixture of actual reality overlaid with virtual objects. A few years back it would have been called ‘augmented reality’ and been rubbish. But Microsoft’s super-spendy HoloLens came along and called it mixed reality, and now that’s a thing.

But not rubbish?

HoloLens? Too soon to say. Zappar’s ZapBox, however, looks like fun. It’s a cardboard headset for your phone, along with a set of cardboard ‘pointcodes’ that you place around your room. The ZapBox app uses these as visual references to place objects that, by using your similarly coded handheld controllers, you can manipulate.

For example, your 'controllers' might turn into clubs for mini golf, or a paintbrush for 3D painting, or musical instruments. That sort of thing.

Gonna look like a chump. 

Ah, but the good thing about mixed reality, as opposed to virtual reality, is that you can still see around you. So, if your kids are pulling faces while you play, you can make a mental note to boost their broccoli rations. #ParentPower.

And $30, you say?

Yes, though you’ll have to join the queue down at the Kick-E-Mart. ZapBox is currently being funded, before an April 2017 launch. Current best deal is US$30 (around ₹17,000).

You could get it a little sooner by signing up for Zappar’s developer program – for a few dollars more you can get yourself access to ZapWorks and make your own mixed reality apps for the platform. Maybe you’ll get spotted by the Microsoft HoloLens team?