Google Makes VR Goggles… Out of Cardboard

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The Google I/O 2014 conference might have been all about Android, but it was one unusual device-plus-app combination that really stole the scene-- Cardboard, Google's paper take on the Oculus Rift. Yes, really.

CardboardDescribed by Google as a "no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset," Cardboard reminds of the Vrizzmo, a low-cost VR headset consisting of a head harness and a pair of optical lenses. However unlike the Vrizzmo, the Cardboard headset is strictly DIY. It is, essentially, a corrugated cardboard (thus the name!) kit and a pair of lenses held together with strategically velcro tabs, magnets and rubber bands. Once assembled, all that's left is a smartphone and an appropriate app for admittedly basic VR experiences.

Google I/O attendees got foldable Cardboard packages complete with Velcro tabs and an NFC chip to automatically summon the companion app, but Google provides online instruction for those wanting to spend some quality time with an extra-large pizza box and a craft knife. The only problem, really, is getting hands on appropriate lenses-- a possible retail opportunity in scavenged reading glasses or retro stereoscope lenses (Google suggests using the Durovis OpenDive Lens Kit)?

The search giant also provides developers with an open source toolkit for the creation of apps compatible with the device.

Is Cardboard a true means of bringing virtual reality to the masses, or simply Google's dig at Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift? Either way, the curious can check it out in the link below.

Go Google Cardboard