In June 2014, when Google announced that it had made a virtual reality headset out of simple cardboard, not everyone took the announcement very seriously. However, this ‘piece of cardboard’ has turned out to be a truly revolutionary product that has contributed immensely towards the revival of interest in virtual reality.
The simplicity of Google Cardboard is indeed overwhelming! The Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer simply consists of cardboard, Velcro, a rubber band, two lenses and two magnets. ‘That’s it?’ you may ask. Well, it definitely does seem like that is enough for a product to be revolutionary. Of course, for the Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer to work, you will also need to insert in it a smart-phone containing the necessary apps. In fact, at first glance, it can be hard to be impressed with this simple cardboard virtual reality viewer – all that changes after you insert in a smart-phone and try it out. From Google’s Play Store, about 25 million Cardboard apps have so far been downloaded. Chair in a Room, a horror game, is one of the most popular Cardboard apps.
However, Cardboard apps are not just confined to entertainment and games, but also include valuable applications like virtual field trips. While retaining the gadget’s simplicity and low price, Google has kept improving the Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer and the software. There is currently a community of Google Cardboard developers who keep delivering new content. One high-profile partnership was between Google and The New York Times – many subscribers of the daily received free Google Cardboard virtual reality viewers along with the paper. This helped the daily to promote its VR content and also led to virtual reality reaching many people for the first time. In fact, this was among the most important moments in the renaissance of virtual reality.
While the gadget may look extremely simple, Google had to overcome many challenges to make it work. There were many initial difficulties like working out how to ensure interaction with a smart-phone that is within a cardboard box. The strength and direction of magnetic fields are measured by magnetometers within smart-phones – this helps with features like working compasses. To Cardboard’s hardware, the Google Cardboard team added metal magnets followed by creating software for the interpretation of shifts in their magnetic field. It is such smart solutions that led to the creation of this ‘simple’ device. While there are other high-end virtual reality headsets (currently available or to be released soon) from companies like Oculus, Samsung, Valve, Sony, etc., the fact remains that Google Cardboard is currently the simplest and cheapest way to experience virtual reality.
Virtual reality is indeed a great technology with multiple applications across many fields like medicine, entertainment, real estate, etc. You can effectively use virtual reality for the growth and promotion of your business. Before hiring the services of a virtual reality company, make sure that they have a skilled and experienced team in place that can ensure delivery of the best results – right from panorama photography, virtual tours, 360 videography, virtual reality knowledge transfer solutions to advanced visualisation.