As with many emerging technologies, they start off slowly behind the scenes before breaking out into the view of the wider public audience. Google Cardboard, and other similar technologies, are starting to become more mainstream. You may have seen an article or video about it, but often they don’t explain how to get involved yourself. The following is a quick start guide to experiencing Google Cardboard.
The short answer is that it is a Virtual Reality headset geared towards being accessible to as many people as possible. The name itself, Cardboard, speaks to the fact that most headsets users will start with are actually made of cardboard. Using cardboard reduces the cost of these units significantly, and as a result, almost anyone can get access.
The Cardboard unit contains two lenses and a space for placing your average smart phone. It’s designed so that the smart phone can display a dual image, which when viewed through the lenses, produces a 3D result. It also has a trigger, which allows you to interact with apps. Can you really interact using a single button? It might seem impossible, but when you combine it with the motion detection of the device, there is actually a lot that you can do.
The first place you’ll want to visit is Google’s site: Get Cardboard. There you will find more information about Cardboard, as well as options for purchasing a headset. For a broader selection, try Amazon and other web sources. Also, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can download a template and build your own. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to purchase a couple of specialty items such as the magnetic switch and lenses, but they are generally available in hardware stores and online.
You are best off starting with a basic cardboard unit. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and will show you everything you need to know. You can always buy something better later. A word of caution though: They are made of cardboard and will not hold up to heavy wear and tear. Still, if you treat it well, you will have hours of fun demonstrating them to friends and family. You should probably get more than one, because people tend to not want to let go of them once they try it out.
The possibilities are endless. Start by searching “Google Cardboard” on your phone’s app store, then download the official Google app. It’s the best place to start and contains a number of excellent examples. You can also watch 3D video, and you can find many of them on YouTube. For developers, you can create your own apps that make use of 3D technology, and share it with the world.