Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset Details: Make A DIY VR Device Using Your Smartphone [VIDEO, IMAGES]

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Jun 26, 2014 10:56 AM EDT
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One of the most unexpected and unique reveals yesterday at Google's I/O keynote was that of its cardboard virtual reality solution. You can simply slip your smartphone into a cheap cardboard headset with lenses and have your own DIY virtual reality device.

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There is a Cardboard app available on Google Play, which you download and use in conjunction with your cardboard contraption. It's a stunningly clever, somewhat odd solution to the current VR craze led by high-tech devices from Oculus (Oculus Rift, purchased by Facebook for $2 billion) and Sony (Project Morpheus for the PlayStation 4).

Google has provided a description of the smartphone-cardboard solution on its website, explaining its use and the company's vision for the product:

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"Cardboard is a simple DIY enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic virtual reality headset and the accompanying open software toolkit. Cardboard makes it easy for both users and developers to experiment with VR."

There is a developer session today at I/O, which will delve deeper into what they showed off yesterday. Attendees were given the cardboard units.

"In this session we discuss how to build immersive 3D experiences for Android. We give a deep dive into 3D side-by-side rendering, head tracking, and user interaction principles. We introduce a new open source VR toolkit and walk through using it to create a sample immersive app."

You don't need Google to hand you one of the pre-made cardboard to try it out--the site offers instructions for creating your own. You might not have the magnets and lenses readily available, but it's certainly not impossible to gather the materials needed if you're determined to make it yourself. Keep an eye out for more news and details on Cardboard following today's I/O session.

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