In case you missed out, Google gave out $2 billion worth of virtual reality experience at their recent I/O developers’ conference last week. Google Cardboard, dubbed as such because the visor component which houses the phone is as simple as pizza boxes, is a DIY headset in which smartphones can be mounted upon to give the user a virtual reality experience.
The tech giant handed out pre-cut corrugated kits at the conference, but printable templates of Cardboard are already available on the project’s website. All you really need is a couple of hours, a pizza box (or other base materials), inexpensive lenses (for example, goggles), tape, a magnet and a washer. The lenses will help to focus your vision and create the 3D effect, while the latter two parts will interact with the magnetometer (compass) in the phone to create a button that lets you navigate the virtual world.
The simple headset also comes with a paired Cardboard app to allow users to fully immerse themselves in 3D content. Other than flying around Google Earth and viewing 360-degree photos, users can also view 3D YouTube videos, tour the Palace of Versailles or participate in an immersive animated short. This app is currently open sourced and developers around the world can all chip in to create new content, so we are looking forward to some pretty awesome features in the future!
“With everyone having these smartphones in their pocket, basically billions of people, with very little extra cost, could have [virtual reality] experiences,” said Christian Plagemann, a senior research scientist at Google, “We thought that the quickest way to have an impact was to just make it open and go really broad.”
The one edge that Cardboard retains is the developer push adapted from its open simplicity. The Android platform already has thousands of people developing great content on it, so the genre of virtual reality should spark some excitement. Like Smithsonian Magazine said in their article, “the company could quickly find itself with the most substantial and diverse virtual reality software library out there — so long as they can entice enough of those people to create and code for the new platform.”
P/s. If you missed Google I/O Extend Phnom Penh 2014, we’ve got you covered with all the event’s buzz!