There are a lot of things you can make out of paper products these days, not limited to cell phones, bikes, desks, and pollution measuring kits. Impossible as it seems, it was probably only a matter of time before some particularly industrious people came up with a virtual reality headset made out of cardboard.
Three developers took an opportunity at Google’s I/O conference last week to show off a cardboard virtual reality headset, developed in tandem with an Android app built using Google Earth. David Coz, Christian Plagemann, and Boris Smus showed how one might fold up the contraption, plop in a smartphone, and start flying over mountain ranges, or, if you prefer, into space. The developers, who worked on the project at Google’s Cultural Institute in Paris, then shared their plans with the rest of the world by throwing the designs up on a website.
Virtual reality has seen an explosion of mainstream interest with the success of the Oculus Rift headset, but at $350 a pop, it’s not exactly the people’s VR. Google’s Cardboard, however, goes for a little under $20. There’s no sound yet, but the developers noted that they’d be working on adding headphones soon.
Hopefully, the accessible price means that more citizen scientists can participate in developing VR technology, which is emerging as a new tool in fields ranging from human health care to animal husbandry. Yes, animal husbandry: Just check out the Oculus Rift for chickens.