Google may have just created a budget competitor to Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus. During their I/O conference, the software giant gave attendees a parting gift of cardboard.
No, they weren’t being spectacularly cheap (“hey kid, go play with a box or something”); instead, the cardboard is an inexpensive, foldable VR solution. The project, simply called “Cardboard” allows you to slide your Android phone (sorry iOS users) into its housing, with the user then slipping the whole works over his or her face for a virtual reality at a discount experience.
It’s a clever device: a small magnetic button will activate the Cardboard app once it’s in place on your face, and the works are secured to your head using a rubber band and Velcro. A pair of lenses inside of the headset occlude your view of the screen in order to simulate distance (I’d love to get a closer look to see if there’s a handy spot for a jack for a pair of 7.1 surround sound headphones).
Google has created a handful of “experiences” for use with Cardboard and supporting app, including a selection of YouTube videos that simulate a theatrical experience, a panoramic photo viewer, and VR versions of Google Earth and Streetview. If someone could get to converting some of the existing first person games and figuring out a workable control screen, that would be just great, thanks.
For now, Cardboard is only in the hands of Google employees and I/O attendees, but hopefully, they’ll offer it to the masses sooner rather than later.
Our own Jessica Chobot had a quick look at Google’s clever (and inexpensive) VR solution on the latest Nerdist News, so you can actually see it in action as well as the not-too-complicated assembly process.