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DIY: Google wants you to create a VR headset using cardboard

You will need an Android smartphone too,

Google's VR experience.
Google's VR experience.

GOOGLE HAS VIRTUAL reality in its sights, and it comes in the form of a cardboard box.

Not content with handing out all the developers at its conference an Android Wear watch, both a LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live and a Moto 360, it also provided them with a fold-out cardboard box.

The cardboard box is part of an experiment from Google, which wants to see if a VR headset can be created using inexpensive materials. The only expensive product you will need is an Android phone running Jelly Bean or KitKat as it’s placed inside the cardboard headset.

The headset can be created by anyone, provided they have cardboard, lenses, magnets, Velcro, and rubber bands. You can also include an NFC tag if you want to trigger the Cardboard app on your phone automatically.

Cardboard Gif Source: Google Developers

While you’re really just looking at an Android phone, the Cardboard app splits the screen into two, one for each eye, to give the impression that you’re using VR. A number of tech demos on the Chrome mobile browser are also provided to show off its capabilities.

While it might seem silly that Google is experimenting with this, there’s a greater purpose behind it.

If developers experiment and are able to come up with ways to use cheap Android devices to create a VR quality experiences, it will help drive the price of VR headsets down. That would be a win for Google and would put rivals like Oculus VR, Sony and Samsung on the back foot.

Also, the introduction of Android One, aiming at developing high-quality phones at low cost for people in developing markets, could help push such the experiment further if it is successful.

For now though, it’s purely an experiment that could easily disappear in a few months time. If you do decide to create your own, just make sure you’re using strong cardboard and not that from a cereal box.

Read: Google takes another shot at invading the living room with Android TV >

Read: Google’s new Android update is brighter and bolder than ever before >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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