Jun
27
2014

Google cardboard – Google’s answer to Virtual Reality

Google Cardboard - Virtual Reality for everyone

Google Cardboard – Virtual Reality for everyone

The virtual reality space is buzzing with excitement. After Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for almost $2 billion, everyone’s been waiting for other big players to unveil their own version of a 3-D headset. Google’s first step towards virtual reality starts with a 3-D viewer made out of cardboard and other simple materials found in your home or a hardware store.

Google cardboard elements

Google cardboard elements

Once the viewer is assembled, slot in your Android device, download the cardboard app and experience virtual reality when looked through it using special lenses. The things you can do with the current iteration of Cardboard include complete head tracking through the phone’s accelerometers and gyroscopes. Users can look around a virtual Hall of Mirrors, fly across Google Earth with their head as the steering wheel, explore panoramic photos and experience YouTube videos as if sitting in a movie theater.

Slot in your Android device and get ready for some Virtual Reality fun!

Slot in your Android device and get ready for some Virtual Reality fun!

Since the phone sits inside the box, you won’t be able to reach the touch screen for navigation across the interface. For this reason, the box comes with a metallic ring that snaps to the cardboard using a magnet on the opposite side. With the help of the phones magnetometer, the ring acts like a trigger and you can flick it downward, to select items that come into view. To stop the phone from sliding out, the box also includes a rubber band on each side that act as a barrier.

Google says Cardboard was started as a side project with employees working on it alongside their normal duties. Initially it was being built as an experimental project by David Coz and Damien Henry, two of Google’s employees in Paris. Some other such projects, such as Gmail and Adsense have actually ended up as commercial success for the company.

Google cardboard being used at its I/O conference

Google cardboard being used at its I/O conference

One of the major challenges for devices such Oculus Rift and other VR Headsets is to reach out to consumers at a reasonable price. Cardboard will face no such obstacle and might just end up as a runaway hit. The construction part may deter some virtual-reality enthusiasts, but it won’t be difficult for anyone with a knack for putting things together. Although, we don’t expect it to be a front runner in the race for VR supremacy, but still, it’s an innovative product and opens up possibilities of VR to basically anyone.

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About the Author:

While Nair loves his job as a graphic designer, he’s also a technology writer and an avid traveller. He claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after being held hostage for hours at many a do by people who want to consult about their next vacation!

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