Google #Cardboard: Virtual Reality Fun for $2.50

Google Cardboard

It’s fun to consider the future of wearable computing.   Many of my friends at work can’t wait to get their hands on the Oculus rift to start building virtual reality experiences.   Thanks to Google, if you’re interested in tinkering with virtual reality and you have a modern Android phone, you don’t have to wait or have a deep wallet.   During the Google I/O conference last week, Google announced a series of open source projects enabling early adopters and makers to tinker with early design concepts for Google’s virtual reality platform.

To learn more about this platform, please visit https://gweb-cardboard.appspot.com/

You can also view the Google I/O session here:

From a quick review, here are some potential benefits of the technology

  • While the technology is still young, the virtual reality concept can provide captivating environments for training, educational games, and simulations.  The Google Earth app is just beautiful.  Someone needs to make Metablast using virtual reality.  It would be cool to explore the inside of a cell using virtual reality.  I can only imagine how artists will use this technology.   Good times!
  • I believe that Google is trying to start of movement of innovation using their cardboard project.   The Google+ community page for Google Cardbard/VR has 1900+ makers who are experimenting with the hardware design.   You can find people using 3D printers to print original plastic designs.   Others are using inexpensive toys for viewers.
  • For the most part, virtual reality is just expensive.    This move by Google will rapidly expand access to the technology while driving down cost across the industry.
  • I think it’s cool that Google supports native Android and JavaScript implementations of VR apps.   I believe that everyone  appreciates expanded capabilities of their existing Android phones.

In my case, I built the Google Cardboard viewer using my printer, paper, glue, tape, and cardboard folders.    Unfortunately, I would need to wait to obtain other parts and lenses.  Based on an idea from the Cardboard community group on G+, I tried getting a toy from our Dollar store.    With a few slight modifications, I was able to explore the Cardboard HTML5 and Android apps.   This has to be the most fun $2.50 I have ever spent!

I am looking forward to designing some cool educational experiences with the technology.

 

What kinds of virtual reality apps would you like to see? How would you use virtual reality?

 

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