Virtual reality won’t get anywhere if developers and consumers can’t afford to experiment with the technology. That’s why Google has produced a free contruction kit for ridiculously cheap VR headsets.
Google Cardboard is a template for a VR enclosure you can build from any sufficiently sturdy cardboard – you could probably beg a few clean cartons from your local supermarket, for example. Google says a pizza box is fine, although you’ll need an extra large, and I’d like to add: clear off the cheese drips first.
Once you’ve built the headset, you slide an Android phone in, preloaded with Google’s software, and bob’s your uncle. Although it won’t be anywhere near as comfortable anexperience as a commercially manufactured device, all VR headsets are basically devices for holding a screen or screens in front of your face, so it’ll do the job. Software is the real magic.
This is not the excellent, increasingly high quality VR Oculus is aiming for with Rift or Sony with Morpheus, but it is a quick and cheap way to get on board so you can start trying out VR experiences – and building them. This kind of bootstrap solution will give the major companies a much-needed boost, acting as a gateway drug of sorts and ensuring there’s plenty of content for consumers who decide to step up.