The $30 Virtual Reality Experience – Google Cardboard

20160130_083929-1Virtual Reality’s been grabbing some attention lately.  Hololens, Oculus Rift etc are all exciting new technologies to give us this ‘virtual reality’ world.  But they’re all still ‘coming’ and they look expensive.  Luckily we don’t have to wait, and we don’t have to spend big bucks.  Google Cardboard is here now.

I found a couple of viewers at the local PBTech store, just $30.  Pretty competitive compared to the cost of a couple of movie tickets!   It’s obviously early days, and for $30 it’s not going to be fancy,  but nevertheless, it’s an interesting journey.  We fired up the system (i.e.folded the cardboard, attached the head strap and inserted the mobile phone – Android of course!  This is a Google product after all!) then set off to explore new worlds.  Actually we explored old world in new ways – a tour of Chicago, a canyon,  a museum, the palace of Versailles. That was enough for me – I get motion sickness easily and that was my limit – my kids carried on – exploring ancient worlds,  science fiction landscapes, meeting dinosaurs and all sorts.

It’s pretty simple.  The box simply separates the picture to your left and right eyes, giving you depth perception.  It uses the phone’s motion tracking to detect movements left and right, up and down, so the picture can follow as you turn your head.  There are loads of 3D cameras around that developers can use to create three dimensional experiences – real or fantasy.20160130_083916-1

It’s an interesting time,  no one knows what the opportunities are, so they are experimenting.  Major news organisations are testing it to to deliver their content in new ways, making it easier to convey a story and give more realistic impressions than traditional 2D images – the New York Times are the most active and advanced – their app is available for free.

Virtual Reality is here, it’s now, and it’s fun!  To get a sense of the devices, and the apps, or how to makes apps – try https://www.google.com/get/cardboard/