Microsoft has revealed its answer to the Google Cardboard virtual reality kit. The "Microsoft VR Kit" has been spotted on a website about a Microsoft hackathon in Russia. A Lumia device is visible through the hole on the front, suggesting the setup works similarly to Google Cardboard, where the user slots a smartphone into a do-it-yourself headset to provide a screen.
The hackathon lets like-minded developers come together to create virtual reality apps for Windows. Microsoft is offering prizes for the best entry in three categories: best game, best educational project and best corporate project. According to the translation, the website also promises that "successful" ideas will be given a "set of cardboard" to continue building the application.
The product wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has dipped its toes into virtual reality. The Microsoft HoloLens kit provides an augmented reality version of Windows, with the company suggesting several practical uses, from fixing a pipe to cataloguing items on the International Space Station.
The Microsoft VR Kit is unlikely to hold a candle to the real HoloLens in functionality. If Google Cardboard is anything to go by, the kit will offer a fun, accessible virtual reality system, but won't be suitable for critical NASA missions. It is likely, however, to cost a lot less. Google even released freely available instructions for building a Cardboard headset using household supplies, which Microsoft may emulate.
The Microsoft hackathon is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 17 in Moscow. Alongside app development, the event will have technical experts on hand to answer questions on business models and code writing. As for the VR kit, the website unfortunately does not mention a wider release.