Google Unveils Cardboard Virtual Reality Set

I am really, really, super excited about the potential for new virtual reality devices that will soon be on the market. This includes Oculus Rift, which was recently purchased by Facebook for $2 Billion. However, Google might have just undercut old Zuckerberg with a lowcost, cardboard version of the VR headset.

Google is also working on a cardboard rocket to compete with Space X.

There has been a lot of talk about the many uses for this new VR technology, including cybersex, “virtual telepresence”, and even making all chickens “free range.” Basically we are going to get all of the stupid, bad ideas and smut of the Internet, but it will now be strapped directly to your face so you can’t get away from it!

Chickens will also love Google Cardboard.

Soon we will all be living out the B-movie science fiction dreams of our 1990's childhoods. The Lawnmower Man was my jam. Technology has finally caught up with the fantasy, however for many people there is still just one obstacle in having godlike powers over a virtual, pixilated landscape; the price. All this fancy tech is bound to set you back a few hundred dollars of real cash, and not those phony video game coins.

These go getters actually make a Google Cardboard and try it out.

That’s why Google recently unveiled The Cardboard Project, so the unwashed masses will be able to experience virtual reality on the cheap through their smart phones. Simply download the free Cardboard app to your Android smart phone and then follow a set of instructions on how to piece together your own ghetto version of the Oculus Rift. Watch out Mark Zuckerberg, I think your big investment is about to crash! Cardboard is the future. Via Google:

  1. Cardboard
    Corrugated cardboard sheet, preferably E Flute (corrugated cardboard comes in a variety of thicknesses called "flutes"), available at many art supply stores and online . For best results, you should look for strong, thin cardboard (sturdy shoe box rather than moving box). Minimum size: 8.75in (22cm) by 22in (56cm), and 0.06in (1.5mm) thickness. Online sources here and here
  2. Lenses
    This is the trickiest component. Lenses that have a 45mm focal distance might work. Biconvex lenses work best because they prevent distortion around the edges. We used the Durovis OpenDive Lens Kit available here (US) and here (EU).
  3. Magnets
    One neodymium ring magnet - like this or this - and one ceramic disk magnet - like this or this. Approximate size: 0.75in (19mm) diameter and 0.12in (3mm) thickness.
  4. Velcro
    Two strips of regular strength adhesive-backed velcro. Approximate size: 0.75in (20mm) by 1.25in (30mm).
  5. Rubber band
    One rubber band, to prevent the phone from sliding out. Minimum length of 3.2in (8cm).
  6. NFC tag (optional)
    One sticker NFC tag. Program it with the URL cardboard://v1.0.0

You'll also need a ruler, glue, and scissors, an X-acto knife, or access to a laser cutter.

On second thought; this is way too much work. I’m lazy.

However you and I both know that that’s a lot of work. If you are like me, then DIY – Do It Yourself, is just a D- as in Don’t. Between writing constructive, life changing comments on websites and skimming the web for foot fetish videos, who has time to make a homemade VR helmet out of cardboard? What am I, Martha Stewart meets Elon Musk?

That’s why the folks at Unofficial Cardboard have come up with a genius business model for less productive people like you and me. They are selling kits with all the pieces in addition to ready-made Google Cardboard for around $19- $22 dollars. Now all you have to do is slap your compatible phone inside and enjoy the experience of virtual reality for the price of a fully loaded pizza.  I for one can’t wait to fly through virtual worlds with my phone and pieces of cardboard strapped to my face.

Will you try Google Cardboard?

Strap Cardboard to Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney