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$41,148 pledged of $30,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By The Weasel Labs Team
$41,148 pledged of $30,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

265af3715bd3bc04b50597c09770a27b original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

Meet the ZephVR

The ZephVR is an accessory that attaches smart fans to any VR headset and adds realistic wind at the right moments. So when you fly, fall, or accelerate—or when there’s wind in a game—you’ll actually feel it. We like to think of it as the Rumble Pak for VR.

The ZephVR uses machine learning to recognize the sound of wind and motion in VR games, automatically. This means it works for all games out of the box.

Tell your friends about the ZephVR!

 

 

How does the ZephVR improve VR?

The ZephVR adds a ton of immersion to VR games, especially those with lots of motion or weather. Here are some examples:

Moving around..like flying, racing, or swinging between trees.

 Accelerating...like roller coaster drops, or skydiving!

Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!
Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!

Falling...because let’s be honest, you don’t always land where you want to.

Horror games. Try not to rip off your headset when you feel ghosts appear before you.

Here’s what some of our testers have said! 

  • "I heard an arrow whiz by my left ear and for the first time, I could actually feel it. I was so startled I almost ran into the wall. This is what VR is supposed to feel like." -Jon N. 
  • “The ZephVR felt like an integrated part of the game. I looked forward to every jump knowing that I would feel the wind rushing against my face. It truly added to the immersion.” -Scot D. 
  • "ZephVR is the missing link to full VR presence that I didn't know I needed. It has vastly improved immersion, heat, and even nausea in my experiences with it." -Harrison S.
  • “I've been lucky enough to test a prototype and I can confirm it does add quite a bit to the experience.” -Siamak F.
  • “Immediately made other VR seem lacking.” -Matt R. 
  • “I cannot imagine using VR without the ZephVR after trying it ONE TIME. It takes ‘VR’ a huge step closer to being Virtual Reality.” -Charles L.

How does the ZephVR work?

The ZephVR attaches quiet, lightweight fans to your VR headset to add wind to any VR experience. We designed the ZephVR to recognize the sound of wind in any audio track, so the ZephVR will work pretty well with any game out of the box! 

We did this by labeling hours of gameplay audio and using machine learning to find patterns in the sound of wind. Think “hot dog / not hot dog” from Silicon Valley…but instead wind / not wind.

Here’s a demo from Windlands. On the left, you can see our see our software recognizing wind in the game (red means low/no wind, green means lots of wind). We unfortunately can’t get you into a VR headset across the internet, so we set the ZephVR on our monitor so you can watch the fans respond.

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The ZephVR can be used in two modes by flipping a switch:

  • Autonomous mode: Our software will automatically activate the ZephVR’s fans to coincide with events in whatever game you’re playing. As new games come out, we'll keep updating the ZephVR's software to make sure it recognizes wind in these games, too. We’ll also team up with game developers to create customized experiences for their games. 
  • Always-on mode: The ZephVR will add a steady breeze to keep you cool and comfortable during any game. 

Which systems is the ZephVR designed for?

We designed the ZephVR to be compatible with all the major console and PC-based VR systems: 

  • HTC Vive 
  • Oculus Rift 
  • PlayStation VR

As new VR systems come out, we'll update the ZephVR's designs to make sure it will work with them too.

So who are you, anyway?

We're Paige Pruitt and Sean Spielberg, and together, we’re the Weasel Labs team. Why Weasel Labs? Well, take a look at this little guy and tell us you wouldn't name your company after him. 

Our mission is to make VR as immersive as possible. And for that to happen, you need to feel a virtual world, not just see it. Wind is just the beginning. Beyond this Kickstarter, we plan to use our technology to enable all sorts of peripherals and physical effects—heat, vibration, rain, or anything else people can think up—so that they work with all VR experiences, automatically.

We've been friends for 14 years, and during a cab ride after a baseball game (and a few beers) in 2016, we decided we wanted to work together too. We'd both been working at startups in NYC (Paige as an engineer, and Sean as a product manager), but wanted to try our hand at something of our own.

We've both been VR addicts since the day the PSVR came out. One day, when Paige was playing London Heist, she leaned out the virtual car's window while accidentally putting her head in front of her window fan. The moment felt so eerily realistic that she immediately called Sean, and we began brainstorming ways to recreate immersive moments like this intentionally.

After making a prototype for the PSVR and getting supportive feedback on Reddit, we started thinking about bringing the ZephVR to market. We left our jobs, joined an LA startup incubator, and started working on the ZephVR full-time. We spent months demo-ing the ZephVR, discussing our project with manufacturers, and improving our prototype. We modified the size and position of the fans, honed our software, and added compatibility for the Vive and Rift.

Our ZephVR prototype is ready to manufacture…but we need your help to bring it to the world. By backing us on Kickstarter, you can help us take the final, crucial step in turning the ZephVR from a prototype to a product ready for mass production.

Join us!

Recently featured in...

  • “ZephVR is now a real device with a real chance of changing the game.” -Kyle Melnick, VRScout 
  • "Meet the new accessory that lets you actually feel virtual reality" -Andy Meek, BGR 
  • “4D effects for VR that were previously only available in theme parks and exhibitions” -Richard Borg, UrbanWearables 
  • “[Y]ou will be able to actually feel when you are sailing through a storm, flying, accelerating, or falling from a height in your games.” -Shilpa Lama, TechMalak 
  • “The ZephVR blows air in your face, which might actually make VR better” -Jon Martindale, Digital Trends 
  • "ZephVR adds another physical dimension" -Jay Garrett, GadgetyNews 
  • “VR’s About To Get Breezy As ZephVR Launches Kickstarter Campaign” -Peter Graham, VRFocus

Where can I learn more?

  • Check out our website at zephvr.co
  • See Paige’s original post to the PSVR subreddit here
  • See our debut posts to the Oculus and Vive subreddits here
  • Questions? Shoot us an email at founders@zephvr.co

 

Risks and challenges

We plan to partner with an experienced prototyping and manufacturing firm to deliver the ZephVR to our backers. As the first hire at KeyMe (a startup that builds robotic key duplication kiosks, $105mm raised to date), Paige has deep experience bringing a complex electronic product from prototype to mass production, and supervising manufacturing firms. For the ZephVR, she has vetted and sought quotes from several partners, and has set a realistic timeline of six months for delivery.

Nevertheless, unexpected issues tend to pop up when manufacturing a new product. While we have included time buffers to account for unexpected delays, missing our estimated delivery date remains a potential risk.

We set our pricing for ZephVR units in accordance with quotes we received from several manufacturers, with a buffer to account for unexpected cost increases. Our company has also raised a small amount of seed funding that can absorb additional cost increases. Nevertheless, it is possible that unforeseen issues could prevent us from manufacturing the ZephVR at scale at reasonable pricing. While we think that this case is unlikely, we will always treat our backers’ contributions with the utmost respect, and would plan to offer full refunds should unanticipated cost increases become a significant issue.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you!

    We get it - not everyone has a VR system. And though this pains us deeply, you can still help us bring the ZephVR to the world. Your name will appear on our website's "Thank You" page.

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    ZephVR T-Shirt

    Support our project and show the world you're part of the ZephVR fam by rocking some sweet swag! It'll look good, we promise.

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    ZephVR (Vive/Rift) - EARLIEST BIRD

    Super low pricing for our first backers! A ZephVR compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift!

    Includes:
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    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
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    ZephVR (Vive/Rift) - EARLY BIRD

    Even if you missed our earliest bird special, you can still get a great deal on a ZephVR compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift!

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    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
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    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    ZephVR (PSVR) - EARLIEST

    Super low pricing for our first backers! A ZephVR compatible with the PlayStation VR. (Includes an additional microcomputer and audio cable to enable PSVR compatibility)

    Includes:
    • ZephVR
    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
    • 15 ft. audio cable with splitter
    • Audio processing box (microcomputer)
    • Clips for cross-compatibility w/ Vive+Rift
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    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    ZephVR (Vive/Rift)

    Even if you missed our early bird special, you can still get a great deal on a ZephVR compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

    Includes:
    • ZephVR
    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    ZephVR (PSVR) - EARLY BIRD

    Even if you missed our earliest bird special, you can still get a great deal on a ZephVR compatible with the PlayStation VR. (Includes an additional microcomputer and audio cable to enable PSVR compatibility.)

    Includes:
    • ZephVR
    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
    • 15 ft. audio cable with splitter
    • Audio processing box (microcomputer)
    • Clips for cross-compatibility w/ Vive+Rift
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    Pledge $119 or more About $119

    ZephVR (PSVR)

    Even if you missed our early bird special, you can still get a great deal on a ZephVR compatible with the PlayStation VR. (Includes an additional microcomputer and audio cable to enable PSVR compatibility.)

    Includes:
    • ZephVR
    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
    • 15 ft. audio cable with splitter
    • Audio processing box (microcomputer)
    • Clips for cross-compatibility w/ Vive+Rift
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    Developer Pack

    Includes three ZephVR units, each compatible with the PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive, plus instructions and support for developing for the ZephVR to create custom experiences for VR content.

    Includes:
    • ZephVR
    • 15 ft. mini-USB cable
    • 15 ft. audio cable with splitter
    • Audio processing box (microcomputer)
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    Pledge $999 or more About $999

    VRcade Bundle

    Includes 10 ZephVR units compatible with the PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive.

    Includes:
    • 10× ZephVR
    • 10× 15 ft. mini-USB cable
    • 10× 15 ft. audio cable with splitter
    • 10× Audio processing box (microcomputer)
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