Google has launched an app called Cardboard that lets users slot their Android device into a hand-made cardboard viewer. When looked through using special lenses, you can interact with various Google services like a virtual reality (VR) headset.
“Virtual reality has made exciting progress over the past several years. However, developing for VR still requires expensive, specialised hardware,” Google said on the project’s page.
“Thinking about how to make VR accessible to more people, a group of VR enthusiasts at Google experimented with using a smartphone to drive VR experiences.”
Google says Cardboard was created as part of a 20 percent project, which is when employees are given free reign to work on side projects alongside their normal duties – otherwise referred to as ‘intrapreneurship‘. Other actual Google products like Gmail and AdSense, also started out as part of these employee side projects.
The DIY factor
Cardboard device in its current state requires some elbow grease. It cannot be bought as a completed product. To build it you need a pair of lenses with a 40mm focal distance to keep the phone’s screen in focus. The kit also requires magnets, velcro, a rubber band, and a Near Field Communication (NFC) tag if you want to tag your device to the headset to launch the app right away. The magnet and rubber band serve as a makeshift hardware button for your phone.
Google Cardboard photo gallery:
According to Google, the app gives users the ability to experience popular Google services such as YouTube and Google Earth in a VR environment. Google has also offered some instructions for how to engineer your own cardboard mask.
The app is available for download at the Google Play Store.
Images source: Google