One of the most intriguing moments of Google I/O 2014 was when ‘a piece of cardboard‘ was mentioned.
Google I/O, the web giant’s annual conference, what could a piece of cardboard have do with it? That was exactly the question we all had in our minds till they showcased Cardboard. Bringing down virtual reality to such a level of simplicity that there isn’t any inconvenience left. All you need is a piece of cardboard, a pair of lenses, a rubber band and a magnet.
While the rest of the world was off patenting things, and making big fancy futuristic looking VR devices, Google brought the VR to you. While most of you might wonder how good a piece of cardboard could be, let us just say, it is just plain wonderful. No, not as advanced as the Occulus Rift, but still good enough.
You strap your phone into the cardboard, look at it through the lenses, which give the images being produced, a 3D kind of feel. You would think that would be it, but no. Google also gave this VR gadget, an analogue button. The magnet.
For Cardboard demo, you have to get the cardboard app from Play Store. It is around 188MB in size. Once installed, the app starts off, and a tutorial tells you to turn your head to look around the app. Now comes the interesting part. To select any item, you have to slide the magnet down, and let it go. Quite something, isn’t it?
There is another magnet on the inner side, which ensures that the magnet you slid, snaps back. This movement of the magnet is detected by your phone, thus acting as a trigger.
The app comes with 7 VR experiences, most based off of Google’s services.
Youtube :Shows you select YouTube videos on the simulated screen.
Street Vue : VR version of Street View.
Exibit : Shows you a few objects, which have a 3D feel because of the VR.
Earth Flyover : Google Earth, letting you take a look at a city as if you are flying over it. You can use the button to start or stop.
Photo Sphere Viewer : Shows you pictures taken using photosphere, the 360º panoramic feature.
Windy Day : Shows you animated animals, going around, while leaves fall.
Tour Guide : Shows you the Palace of Versailles with a girl with a thick French accent telling you about the Palace in the background.
These demo features are just the beginning. Apps will start to arrive to the Cardboard soon. The Cardboard isn’t necessarily an invention, but it is a great innovation. Stay tuned for more news as it comes.