Mona's Mask is a soft alternative to virtual reality headsets

Mona's Mask is a soft cotton alternative to VR headsets

Technology company Mona has designed cotton goggles that incorporate a wearer's smartphone to function as a virtual reality headset (+ slideshow).

VR mask by Mona turns a users iphone into a virtual reality device

Much like in Google Cardboard, Mask incorporates two curved lenses that distort a smartphone's display so it covers the user's field of view and makes the image appear life size.

There is a slot for an iPhone to be placed behind the lenses, and the cotton visor is secured in position over the eyes using magnetic fastenings on an adjustable headband.

VR mask by Mona turns a users iphone into a virtual reality device

Fire-hardened biconvex glass lenses at the front of the visor turn the cotton wrap into what Mona describes as a "a 21st-century stereoscope" – a reference to the Victorian-era device for viewing left-eye and right-eye views of the same scene as a single three-dimensional image.

Mona's Mask is machine washable, and the company plans to collaborate with designers on alternative printed fabrics.

VR mask by Mona turns a users iphone into a virtual reality device

"Mask is the culmination of a year of development and refinement," said the company, which is owned by product research and development studio Planeta.

"The end result is a comfortable, highly functional and user-friendly headset."

VR mask by Mona turns a users iphone into a virtual reality device

The device is ale to be stored flat. Although currently only compatible with the iPhone 6, Mona has plans for future models that will accommodate other smartphones.

Mask is the latest in a growing number of virtual-reality headsets created as the technology develops. Designers have envisioned everything from hooded sweatshirts to sculptural helmets as means to immerse the wearer in virtual worlds.

VR mask by Mona turns a users iphone into a virtual reality device

The technology's potential role in architecture and design has been much discussed. The director of visualisation studio VRtisan, Ekke Piirisild, claimed virtual reality will be "a completely new tool" that designers will use to create buildings and products intuitively in 3D space around them.

VR mask by Mona turns a users iphone into a virtual reality device

It could also play a role in allowing architects to walk clients through virtual models of buildings, with 3D visualiser Oliver Demangel suggesting virtual reality will soon become essential.