No more pricey gadgets and devices for virtual reality. With Google’s latest Cardboard project, who wants to spend a few hundred bucks on a virtual viewer when an eco-friendly version can be constructed from small tools found in the garage, or more so, from stuff that originally belongs in the garbage bin, say, a pizza box?
At the search giant’s I/O developers conference 2014, aside from the shiny giveaways, everyone was also given a not-so-impressive cardboard box. Dull as it may seem, it turns out to be Pandora’s, except that the possible evils contained inside belong to the virtual world. Simply insert a supported Android phone, and the box will be transformed into a VR headset which lets you view the world around in 3D mode.
“We want everyone to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and inexpensive way”, states the Cardboard project’s page. To achieve this goal, Google has provided a DIY guide with instructions on how to build your own device, together with a clear list of necessary materials and their respective specs. The materials, as described on the page, are “everyday items” that are available online, at local household stores, or even can be found at your place. All you need is a cardboard, a rubber band, two magnets, two strips of Velcro, biconvex lenses and an optional NFC tag, plus a few hours for assembling the components. After that, have the Cardboard Android app installed on your phone, and voilà, the brilliant world is now floating around you.
At the moment, Cardboard is fully compatible with the following phones: Google Nexus 4 and 5, Motorola Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5, and Galaxy Nexus. By offering accessible VR experience to mainstream users, it is Google’s vision to encourage developers to offer innovative digital contents and bring the immersive virtual reality to the next generation.
And even if problems arise when you are paving your own way into the virtual world, there’s nothing to worry about. Google has made the entire Cardboard production process as friendly as possible by creating a community for “Cardboard & VR Developers” on Google+. No matter you are looking for the best substitutes for the tricky lenses, have discovered an alternative assembling method, or simply want to show off your awesome box cut from USPS Priority, just speak up and your fellow “developers” will be there to help.
As a final hint, if you don’t mind a bit of grease on your device, next time when you order a pizza, “make sure your order an extra large”.