Google Cardboard, a virtual reality viewer that you can use with your smart phone, is one of the latest tech toys available from Google. It is an affordable and fun tool that users assemble themselves. While it may not be a high-end piece of virtual reality tech like the Oculus Rift, Cardboard is far from just a gimmicky toy. I had the opportunity to try out Google Cardboard for myself and was very impressed by just how much I could do with pre-cut cardboard, a magnet, a washer, a rubber band, velcro and 2 small glass lenses.
What is it?
Google Cardboard is a simple, basic virtual reality (VR) viewer that consumers can buy, build and use with their smartphone. Aptly named, it is primarily made of cardboard and the aforementioned basic parts. Essentially, it is the VR tool that we would imagine MacGyver would design.
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After locating the instructions online, which for some reason did not appear to come with this package, the construction was easy. A “1, 2, 3, fold, hold and press together” approach for the cardboard is really all that was needed. Following this simple assembly, the user has its very own virtual reality headset viewer. With newer models of Cardboard already available or hitting the market soon, we would imagine that the assembly will only get easier and easier.
- Install the Google Cardboard App on your smartphone.
- Insert your smartphone into the Google Cardboard headset
- Fold open the front of the headset to let your smart phone slide in.
- Fold the front of the headset and smartphone into the headset itself and secure it with a rubber band. (see examples below, courtesy of CNET)
- With the Cardboard app launched, look into the viewfinder/eye cut outs of the viewer and control the phone with the washer on the side of the viewer by sliding it up and down.
Simply put, it’s exactly what you would expect from a headset made from cardboard.
Since the headset is only cardboard, there were a couple instances where the phone slipped out of the side while trying to fold the headset back. Our colleague decided to add some additional stability using some household items. On the sides of the headset, he added gaffers tape, a wooden meat skewer, and a rubber band to create support and prevent the phone from sliding out.
Overall, we had a great experience with Google Cardboard. What it lacks in advanced technology, it more than makes up for in its ingenuity and its ability to give any one with a smart phone a virtual reality experience. While it won’t be surpassing the Oculus Rift as the leader in virtual reality, it is definitely worth checking out! And luckily, they’re extremely affordable!
About the Author
Daniel Wiggins is a Senior Digital Producer for Modis located in Jacksonville, Florida. Off the clock, he enjoys all-things tech and gadgets with some drone piloting on the weekends.