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Google introduces cardboard virtual reality rival

Google introduces cardboard virtual reality rival

Google is offering up the designs and building instructions for the virtual reality headset for free.

The latest entrant to the virtual reality arena is from Google and made out of cardboard.

Announced during the I/O conference keynote speech, Google Cardboard is an app that transforms an Android smartphone into a virtual reality headset with the assistance of a viewer made out of cardboard.

The template for the extremely low cost headset also requires two plastic lenses, a set of magnets and velcro to hold things like the back panel closed and a washer on the side that is used as a selection button. An elastic band is used to keep the phone locked in place and an optional NFC tag can be included to get the phone to launch the companion app as soon as it is placed inside the headset.

To use the headset, users need to download the Google Cardboard app and then slot the phone into the back panel of the cardboard construction. At present, the app only has a handful of demos including access to Youtube, exploring Google Street view or climbing the Himalayas through Google Earth.

Budding virtual reality developers are also encouraged to try and build their own virtual reality experiences by Google which is offering a free VR Toolkit, an experimental SDK.

Google claims that the cardboard VR solution will work with most modern Android phones running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or higher. The Samsung Galaxy S4, S5 and Nexus, the Google Nexus 4 and 5 and the Motorola Moto X have all been tested by Google and proved to be fully compatible. The Samsung Galaxy S3, Motorola Moto G and HTC One have been found to be partially compatible. Older phones might prove to be less successful.

The designs and instructions needed to make your own headset are available on the Google Cardboard page.

The virtual reality field is currently experiencing a boom and attracting attention from the wider tech industry. Earlier this year, Oculus Rift surprised everyone by announcing that they had been bought by Facebook for $2bn. Other VR projects in development include Sony’s Project Morpheus and an as-yet unnamed device from Valve.

Google has also dipped its toe into the related field of augmented reality through the dvelopment of Google Glass. This system of providing users with a phone-powered overlay on the world hit the UK earlier this week, coming with a £1,000 price tag.

25 Comments

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GeorgeK 26th June 2014, 12:31 Quote
I had to check it wasn't April 1st then... Really - a cardboard Oculus Rift? Whatever next?!
Ergath 26th June 2014, 13:03 Quote
This is not made of cardboard..... it is made of PURE WIN.
Yadda 26th June 2014, 13:05 Quote
Lol. What a brilliant idea.
GuilleAcoustic 26th June 2014, 13:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeK
I had to check it wasn't April 1st then... Really - a cardboard Oculus Rift? Whatever next?!

There're plan for DIY dual screen oculus rift on internet, can be built out of what you want :D

example: http://www.roadtovr.com/build-your-own-diy-oculus-rift-guide/
Umbra 26th June 2014, 14:02 Quote
Google introduces cardboard virtual reality rival.

Wonder what Samsung will think of that considering Samsung's VR Headset will also use your phone's screen?
Quote:
Rumors are flying about Samsung's plans for the virtual reality headset market. Just a week after Engadget's last unconfirmed report on Samsung's VR device, there's a new post that sheds quite a lot more light on the subject. First of all, Samsung and Oculus VR (makers of the Oculus Rift and recently acquired by Facebook) are sharing technology to improve each other's products. And secondly, Samsung's device uses a dock for your phone, which then becomes the primary display for the device.
androidpolice.com
edzieba 26th June 2014, 14:32 Quote
Rival? Really? It's a fun little demo for I/O that the plans were released for to DIY at home. In function (put a phone in a thing that holds a phone and some lenses) it's no different from the FOV2go and similar.

Like any phone-based HMD, it will have the same issues of lack of rigid alignment (when you're using high magnification power lenses, a tiny bit of wobble means the 'world' viewed through the display flies about), lack of dimensional accuracy (because you need enough tolerance to fit a phone in), and the generally poor IMUs and IMU polling in mobile phones (nowhere close to the performance needed for comfortable VR).

Perfect for a quick "look what you can do with a phone and $10 of materials" demo of looking around Street View for a minute or two before throwing the thing away, but no good for any sort of actual usage.
murraynt 26th June 2014, 15:53 Quote
Google I/O has just been on and this is what makes the news on Bit-tech?
Gareth Halfacree 26th June 2014, 15:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by murraynt
Google I/O has just been on and this is what makes the news on Bit-tech?
What, you mean the Google I/O I posted a summary piece on this morning? And the same Google I/O where Google Cardboard was announced?

Sorry, what was your complaint again?
murraynt 26th June 2014, 16:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
What, you mean the Google I/O I posted a summary piece on this morning? And the same Google I/O where Google Cardboard was announced?

Sorry, what was your complaint again?

My bad, I didn't see that article. It would have still been nice to have a piece dedicated to some like android L, or android TV, android car or android smart watches.
Spreadie 26th June 2014, 17:34 Quote
Ooh, SLAP!


On topic: That looks effing brilliant - practical or not, it'll likely put a hole in the OR hyperbole machine.
Nexxo 26th June 2014, 17:35 Quote
Ghetto VR set!
ChaosDefinesOrder 26th June 2014, 17:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Ghetto VR set!

Something Cheapskate would appreciate, for sure!
Umbra 26th June 2014, 18:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Ghetto VR set!

Oh yeah, We might need a "VR Headset" modding forum, who's going to be the first to print one?
dancingbear84 26th June 2014, 19:05 Quote
I can see how this would potentially be a very good idea for Google. It is a "look kids this is what you can do for £peanuts" it is OK but not great, now give us your $$$ and get Google glass. It is like cardboard, but better.
People like my dad or me even, who don't really see the benefit of glass can get the experience for nothing, then the desire builds to get the actual thing.
I mean who really wants to wander round town with a Frosties box on their head?
edzieba 26th June 2014, 22:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingbear84
I can see how this would potentially be a very good idea for Google. It is a "look kids this is what you can do for £peanuts" it is OK but not great, now give us your $$$ and get Google glass. It is like cardboard, but better.
People like my dad or me even, who don't really see the benefit of glass can get the experience for nothing, then the desire builds to get the actual thing.
I mean who really wants to wander round town with a Frosties box on their head?

This in no way resembles Glass in use, other than "there is a display that happens to be in the vicinity of your head". This is a high-FoV VR viewer (with sorta-OK orientation tracking and no position tracking, and hideous motion-to-photons latency), Glass is a very low FoV HUD. Glass would barely even qualify as AR if anyone attempted to create a live-overlay for it (and would be uncomfortable to use that way, with the image location being offset significantly upward.
keir 28th June 2014, 02:23 Quote
Has anyone done this yet?
supermonkey 28th June 2014, 03:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by keir
Has anyone done this yet?

Yes, people have been doing this since at least the mid-1800s. Basically, Google just created a stereoscope for smartphones.

I have a bunch of 3D images from the moon landings, and I've been meaning to make a proper Victorian stereoscope for a while. I just need to get some decent lenses for it.
Nexxo 28th June 2014, 12:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbra
Oh yeah, We might need a "VR Headset" modding forum, who's going to be the first to print one?

Can I "like" his idea? ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
Yes, people have been doing this since at least the mid-1800s. Basically, Google just created a stereoscope for smartphones.

I have a bunch of 3D images from the moon landings, and I've been meaning to make a proper Victorian stereoscope for a while. I just need to get some decent lenses for it.

Ooh! Project log please! I've actually been toying with the same idea. Have lathe, will mod. Care to do a joint project?
keir 28th June 2014, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
Quote:
Originally Posted by keir
Has anyone done this yet?

Yes, people have been doing this since at least the mid-1800s. Basically, Google just created a stereoscope for smartphones.

I have a bunch of 3D images from the moon landings, and I've been meaning to make a proper Victorian stereoscope for a while. I just need to get some decent lenses for it.

Alright smart arse, I ment Has anyone on here done this? As in the cardboard version.
KidMod-Southpaw 28th June 2014, 16:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingbear84

I mean who really wants to wander round town with a Frosties box on their head?

You're telling me you don't already?

I'm waiting for Apple's iteration of the device: "We've reinvented the stereoscope!"
XXAOSICXX 28th June 2014, 17:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidMod-Southpaw
I'm waiting for Apple's iteration of the device: "We've reinvented the stereoscope!"

I think you'll find Apple actually patented this device in the early 16th Century :p

Plus, I saw some rounded edges on that cardboard. Lawsuit.
supermonkey 28th June 2014, 22:23 Quote
Hasbro created the My3D for iPhones a few years ago. I guess you could say Apple got there first, in a roundabout sort of way. :p

Edit: Nevermind, I suppose Sony could argue prior art.
Spreadie 1st July 2014, 11:40 Quote
Printed and cut out the template last night - just need to find a decent sized sheet of cardboard and then I'll have a crack this at the weekend.
supermonkey 6th July 2014, 21:24 Quote
I had some free time today as well as a bit of cardboard, so I gave this a try. I don't think it works very well. My cardboard may have been a bit thick - though I don't think it was - but I could not get the viewer assembled very well at all.

I printed the template and glued it to the cardboard, then cut out all of the pieces with an X-Acto knife. Right off the bat I figured something was off because the lens holder (the piece on page 1 of the template) was far too thick. I think it has an extra piece. Indeed, if you watch the little animation on the g.co/cardboard page, the lens holder is only 2 pieces thick, not 3 as in the template. I ended up cutting off the right-hand piece just to get it to fit inside the assembly. Regardless, the assembly doesn't come together very well either, and once you double up the top-left piece on page 3 the whole assembly becomes far too bulky to fit together properly. Once I got my phone inside, I just crammed the whole thing together and squeezed it to keep it from falling to pieces.

Admittedly I did this without the proper lenses. I wanted to test it out to see if I could do it without actual lenses because some antique stereoscopes don't necessarily require them either. Unfortunately the phone is held at such a close distance that the lenses are necessary in this case. In the end, I tossed the cardboard viewer, held my phone at arms length, and just crossed my eyes to get the 3D view.

The Google Cardboard app itself was kind of a let down. Of course it's a demo of sorts, so I wasn't expecting anything great, but I think the content could have been better. In the end the whole thing was a bit of a let down.

In summary, I spent an hour this afternoon doing some paper crafting and have nothing really to show for it. :(
peepalala 14th July 2014, 19:52 Quote
I want to try Shadowgun VR, but it requires a bluetooth controller and my hands are already full with google cardboard.
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