Among the technologies currently rising to prominence, virtual reality is one of the most exciting. But, isn’t it also rather expensive to try out at the moment? How many of us can afford to shell out money on VR headsets on top of our usual expenses? Thankfully, Google has cut the usual cost, while still allowing for amazing experiences, with its currently available VR platform Cardboard.
How to get started with Cardboard
If you’re one of the very many people with an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can quickly and inexpensively get up and running with Cardboard. To start with, you need a compatible VR viewer – you can buy one from Google or even make your own. The latter option can be surprisingly straightforward, as it requires only a few everyday items and instructions posted online by Google.
Once you’ve got a viewer in your hands, you can load up a Cardboard-compatible app on your smartphone, insert that smartphone into the back of the viewer, check that the viewer’s fastening device is securely holding the phone in place, and then put that headset on!
— Google Cardboard (@googlecardboard) November 8, 2015
The experience of using Cardboard
There are now over 1,000 Cardboard-compatible apps, so you are unlikely to struggle to find something that especially excites you among this choice. Whichever app you opt for, it will split your smartphone’s display image into two and, to counter pincushion distortion arising due to the lenses, apply barrel distortion to what is shown on screen. All of this will produce a 3D image with a wide viewing range.
— Google Cardboard (@googlecardboard) March 8, 2016
And there you have it – you’ve enjoyed a genuine virtual reality experience, and all without the necessity of hefty financial outlay or following lots of tricky instructions crammed with confusing jargon. It’s super-accessible! As we have previously observed about Microsoft’s augmented reality kit HoloLens, Google Cardboard could be put to an increasingly wide range of functions. The next big revolution in tech? When virtual reality is as easy to set up as this, it certainly looks likely…
Many exciting possibilities with Cardboard
One big reason why Cardboard could really take off is your ability to choose a VR headset that visually reflects your unique personality. We already routinely treat our spectacles and smartphones as fashion accessories, rather than just practical pieces of kit; we could soon go a similar way with VR headsets.
You don’t necessarily have to make your own Cardboard viewer to enjoy this particular benefit. Here are some examples of how visually quirky the pre-manufactured viewers can get…
— Google Cardboard (@googlecardboard) December 11, 2015
— Google Cardboard (@googlecardboard) December 4, 2015
Meanwhile, the rather rudimentary materials with which Cardboard viewers can be made also opens up innovative possibilities for how even pre-manufactured headsets can be supplied. Here, we cite the example of Coca-Cola, which has made packaging that can be… well, see for yourself.
— Google Cardboard (@googlecardboard) February 23, 2016
A very promising future for virtual reality
There’s an exciting future for Cardboard, then – and, thanks to the headset customisation aspect, you could soon regularly enjoy virtual reality without having to look silly in overly large and ugly eyewear. Of course, at SelectSpecs, we know more than a thing or two about stylish eyewear – so, could virtual reality viewers one day be added to our already generously varied stock? Why should we rule it out?