In the age of Virtual Reality, We all talk about VR headsets such as Oculus, HTC Vive, Mirage Solo, etc. But we all forget about the most basic and low-cost VR headset, “The Google Cardboard“.
But a question arises. What is the point in discussing this VR headset? Why is it so special?
Don’t worry, I’ll answer this question in the following article.
Moreover, we’ll discuss this basic VR Kit, it’s successes, related software, and lots of exciting stuff.
Before bouncing off, do Check Out the DIY video of Google Cardboard given below.
What is Google Cardboard? Is it a Software, HMD or Both?
Before diving deep in the concept of Google Cardboard, we must be clear about What is Google Cardboard?
Most of us have a misconception that it is just a mobile application or a VR headset.
But, in reality, Google Cardboard is a Virtual Reality (VR) initiative taken by Google to encourage the use of VR technology among us.
It is a low-cost platform introduced and developed by Google to increase the reach VR technology as far as possible.
As the name suggests, Google Cardboard is an HMD (head-mounted display) which is made up of foldable cardboard.
Google came up with a free application “Cardboard” which is compatible with your budget smartphones.
But, the app will only be compatible if your smartphones consist of Gyroscopic Sensor.
Why choose Google Cardboard?
When it comes to flagship VR headsets, the biggest problem in buying them is their pricing.
But, Google Cardboard is very cost-effective as it is just made up of cardboard. You don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to buy a VR headset.
You can either buy the VR Kit which you need to assemble yourself or you can buy a pre-manufactured Headset too.
When it comes to software development, the Cardboard SDK is available for all Android and iOS developers. The VR View feature of the SDK allows the developers to embed VR content on the web and as well on Mobile application.
Let us now talk about assembling your VR Kit.
How to Assemble the Cardboard Viewer?
The Viewer is built from very low-cost but simple and effective components.
The specifications regarding headset assembly are already provided on the official website Google’s VR platform. Click here to visit.
The Cardboard is very easy to assemble. You just need to cut-out and put the pieces on the right places. Taddaaa! Your budget VR headset is ready.
However, Pre-manufactured Cardboard Viewers were also provided by third-party vendors.
But, since February 2016, Google is also providing the Pre-manufactured Headsets on Google Store.
in the VR Kit, you will receive the precisely cut cardboard, Lenses of focal length 45mm. Moreover, it comes with NFC, a rubber band, loop fastener, hook, and a capacitive tape.
The specialty of the Cardboard is that it comes in multiple variants created by third-party vendors. And, it all costs less than $5.
Once, you have assembled the VR, you need to just insert your smartphone in the back.
The VR compatible app will split the screen and will create separate images for your eye. The lenses apply the pincushion distortion which is avoided by the barrel distortion.
In the end, you will obtain a 3D image with a wide Field of View.
This VR Kit is compatible with almost all budget mobiles. If your Smartphone has Gyroscope and Compass sensor ( which almost all smartphones have nowadays) then go for it and enjoy your VR experience.
Software Development of the Cardboard
When it comes to Virtual Reality, the biggest hurdle is the availability of the resources to create VR content.
But, Google sorted our problem. Google till now provides 3 SDKs (software development kits).
One of them is for Android OS. This SDK uses Java as its coding medium. For game development, Google provides Unity which employs C# as the coding medium.
The last, 3rd SDK is released for the iOS operating system.
Moreover, the SDKs supports Spatial Audio. It will basically interpret the outside voice or noise and simulate it anywhere in the 3D space around you.
We can even experience the virtual realm over the internet. Google implemented this using WebGL. Smartphones which supports WebGL can run the VR content.
Initially, on the launch, the Cardboard App offered Cardboard Demo, 360 Video Channel, and the Street View. But the later updates have upgraded the app a lot.
I won’t reveal everything. You should check it out and explore on your own.
Successes of Google Cardboard
Most of us think that this tiny and obsolete looking VR technology won’t be appreciated much. But, if you also think this way, then buddy you are wrong.
Till March 2017, over 10 Million Cardboard Viewers are shipped.
And, guys, guess what? The Cardboard App has crossed over 160 Million downloads across all the Devices.
Moreover, the successes of Google Cardboard led Google to announce its first big project in the world of Virtual Reality.
Yes, you got it right. Google came up with an enhanced VR platform, Google Daydream in 2016.
In our coming articles, we will read about the upcoming Initiatives of Google VR in the coming years. Do watch out this video in your VR headset.
In the end, I hope you found the article to be interesting and engaging.
So guys, what are your views on this cost-effective VR headset? Do let me know through our social media handles.
If you have any suggestions, do let me know.
I hope you guys enjoyed the article. If you found this article worth reading, do share it with your friends.