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Behold the Holo Cube: a trippy magical puzzle block that transforms with AR and VR

A little foam block that looks like Hellraiser's puzzle box, but it's actually quite charming.

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Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
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Behold, the Holo Cube.

Scott Stein/CNET

A weirdly-patterned cube that looks suspiciously like the Hellraiser puzzle box becomes a delightful little miniature city, once I put my headset on. Or, Pac-Man. Or a Super Mario coin block. Or a Minecraft-like cube of pixelated animals and fields.

Merge VR launched its affordable VR headset last year, which slips onto most iPhones and Android phones. Holo Cube is a novelty extra, a foam block. But, because Merge VR allows your phone's camera to pass through the other side, the Holocube also becomes a little augmented toy.

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It looks ominous, no?

Scott Stein/CNET

Holo Cube can be used with or without a VR headset, using Merge's app. It's coming out sometime around summer for $20. And it's silly...but it's also pretty cute. And it shows that AR games and toys can be achieved with your own phone in your pocket, too.

To be clear: Holo Cube isn't doing anything that things like the Nintendo 3DS did years ago with specially marker-coded AR cards. But at least it looks cool on a desk.