Inside a Google cardboard virtual reality headset
I’m still reeling with my night-out inside a Google Cardboard, a simple virtual reality device made of cardboard, lens, a magnet and a rubber-band! Depressing the magnet down is equivalent of a mouse-click and tilting my head to the side is what I do to back-button – that simple. Sliding an Android smartphone into the contraption completes it and takes you into the very bizarre, very weird, ultra-cool world of virtual reality. There are several VR apps on the Google Play store from oddball games to surrealistic experiences.
There’s an addictive game called Lamper VR that makes me into a bug zooming in a psychedelic tunnel – last night I found myself stretching my arms, crouching and balancing (see picture). Another lets me fly across snowy mountains – a small Santa Claus flies alongside. In another, I’m led into dark rooms with eerie footsteps (mine I suppose) before a tarantula eats me up – wrong app for night time! There are apps with roller coasters, dinosaur forests and even relaxation music with celestial visuals. By the end of my VR night, I felt sick in the stomach with a trippy head. I slept with difficulty, my mind bombarded with images of a constantly moving bizarre tunnel.
I’m excited about how this little device changes everything we know about user interfaces (including on the web). 3D easily manipulated my senses and messed with my head. I can imagine countless applications in every industry bringing a solidly immersive experience to our everyday online interactions (like in medicineor in retail).
Google Cardboard was a 20% hobby project of a couple of employees at its Cultural Institute in Paris. But with over 500,000 shipped units, it’s now more of an unexpected strategic reality for the company. There’s an upcoming version of aCardboard app store within Google Play – with early-stage apps that keep crashing. But it’ll evolve and undoubtedly take off.
There are several vendors on Amazon in most parts of the world selling it for around $20. Buy one (or make one), you’ll thank me for the trip – even if it makes you a wee-bit queasy.
Image: I’m playing a bug zooming through a surreal tunnel