Google Cardboard

Can a bit of Velcro, a sheet of cardboard, a smartphone and a couple of lenses really be the next big thing in virtual reality software?

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Virtual reality software has been toyed with a number of times over the years by technology companies, but for whatever the reason various projects have never come to light, suffering technical difficulties in the development stage or unfortunately flopping after their initial release. Regardless of all the stumbling blocks, it’s a concept that developers keep coming back to time and time again and it’s clear to see why.

Here’s why:

The whole notion is an extremely exciting one and as technology is advancing over time, it’s much easier for programmers to create new and improved software that’s living up to the designer’s and the public’s joint expectations and to smooth out the various kinks that have plagued systems in the past.

Who’s leading the way?:

Google, along with Samsung and their Oculus Rift VR kit, are the latest companies attempting to revive the idea with their latest products. At the company’s I/O conference earlier this year, Google Cardboard was revealed: a virtual reality headset easily made in a few quick steps.

  1. By slotting together a smart phone within a sheet of folded cardboard
  2. a couple of lenses and
  3. a bit of Velcro.

The end result is unique, user-friendly and incredibly immersive experience. You delve into your favourite applications through the cardboard headset allowing you to take a virtual tour of Paris on Street Vue or try out Windy Day, an animated app that takes you into what appears to be an almost living, breathing cartoon forest.

How is this possible?

This is all achieved by the headset splitting the screen across the eyeholes to project an image and by using sensors to allow the user to change what happens on screen by simply moving your head.

A gimmick or here to stay?

Although many have viewed this latest piece of hardware as a bit of a promotional gimmick, if anything it emphasises the point that virtual reality hardware needn’t be expensive and cumbersome and if this is what we can do with a few simple items and some application software the possibilities are literally endless.

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