PSA: It’s Time for an Affordable Augmented Reality Device

PSA: It’s Time for an Affordable Augmented Reality Device

Could Polylens do for AR what Cardboard did for VR?

Melanie Ehrenkranz
  • 8 march 2016

Oof. As stands, getting your face on a HoloLens is ‘invite only’ and will cost you an arm and a leg (that is, if your arm and leg collectively cost $3,000). The Meta 2 costs almost $1,000. Even Google Glass (RIP) is still priced at least a couple hundred bucks on eBay. For those looking to affordably experience augmented reality, the options are slim—which is why designer and developer Sabba Keynejad has created a DIY AR device, the Polylens, which costs under $30 to make.


The handmade Polylens AR device isn’t something you can whip up at home on a whim—it’ll require a trip to your local laser-cutting shop and some chemical coats to bond the parts together—but the objective is what makes this DIY HoloLens so interesting: to allow for the mainstream adoption of what is currently a pricy piece of hardware.


“I hope it will do what Cardboard did for VR,” Keynejad told PSFK in an email.


To create the Polylens, Keynejad sketched designs in Illustrator, had the parts shaped at a laser-cutting shop, bonded the pieces together with four coats of a chemical solution, waited for it to dry, removed any extra film with a knife, and then cleaned and polished the final product. He hacked the Cardboard SDK to create a preview concept app, placed his smartphone on top of the lens, and voila:



The New York Times shipped over one million Cardboard headsets to its subscribers last year and troves of branded Cardboard headsets are being used as marketing gimmicks regularly. Right now, I could shell out just $15 and my own VR headset would be merrily on its way to my face. Augmented reality on the other hand has remained a more exclusive experience. Microsoft invited a select few to test out the HoloLens in a secret room in New York City. The late Google Glass was glasshole-shamed out of bars, restaurants and movie theaters. If I wanted to experience AR right now, I could download an app like Blippar and view AR through my smartphone screen, but a wearable experience is out of my budget.

That’s what makes Polylens so intriguing, it’s an affordable and WEARABLE alternative to the HoloLens and Meta 2. While I doubt the average person is going to laser-cut their own AR device upon reading this, I do think we are going to see more handmade alternatives popping up out of the maker movement until someone (*cough* Google *cough*) offers up a one-click affordable AR device option.

Sabba Keynejad


Dubai And The Future Of Humanitarian Design

Design & Architecture
Technology Yesterday

Concept Camera Designed To Only Take Unique Photos

Camera Restricta is tool that prompts photographers to only capture one-of-a-kind images

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Fragrance Will Release The Smell Of Data If Your Private Information Is Being Leaked

The device is designed to create a physical cue for the potential dangers lurking online


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Yesterday

LYNK & CO Is A New Auto Brand That Promises Mobile Connectivity On Wheels

Online access and mobility sharing are driving the company to disrupt the auto industry

Related Expert

Erica Kochi

Development, Social Good, Technology

Travel Yesterday

Become A Citizen Of The First Nation In Space

Asgardia is a new concept for a floating society above Earth

Entertainment Yesterday

Speaker Displays Song Lyrics As Music Is Played

The device is able to generate the graphics on a translucent screen and retrieve the words from a connected database

AI Yesterday

Travel Assistant Scans Your Emails To Make Planning Easier

This AI add-on will sync with your inbox and sends reminders to make sure you don't miss anything important


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 17, 2016

Home Depot Green Energy Expert: Americans Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Green tech expert Jennifer Tuohy discusses new home energy tech and developments for renewables in the US

PSFK Labs Yesterday

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Millennials Yesterday

FOMO Survival Kit Helps Millennials Cope With Social Anxieties

The satirical product is meant to be a playful diversion for people who feel like they are missing out

Food Yesterday

New York Restaurant Uses Tomato Sushi As Its Newest Meat Alternative

fresh&co is using sous vide Roma tomatoes to create a vegan option that has the texture and taste of tuna

Advertising Yesterday

Red Bull Converts Sao Paulo Payphones Into Data-Driven Bus Schedules

The booths allow city residents to check local transit times through a simple toll-free phone call

Work Yesterday

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

Retail Yesterday

Why Experiential Events Could Replace Trade Shows

Marketers are seeking creative and impactful new ways to connect with influencers

Children Yesterday

Modular Kit Teaches Kids How To Make Their Own Robots

MODI features magnetic modules and a platform for programming to encourage experimentation

Infants Yesterday

Work Table Doubles As A Baby Seat

Designer Kunsik Choi created the furniture to facilitate emotional communication between between parents and their children

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

No search results found.