Google Cardboard: It’s just a box


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Google Cardboard: It’s just a box

 

Google Cardboard VR is a free open source D.I.Y. project Google started to inspire VR (virtual reality) development and to get it into the hands of the common user. It’s acentually free at worst low cost, by only requiring everyday household items or easily accessible parts from a local crafts store. To save time at the cost of only a few bucks more then building your own, you can order one from Unofficial Cardboard. Google provides a free stencil print out and parts list with a blueprint for assembly that starts with Biconvex Lenses, Neodymium Magnet, Ceramic Magnet, Velcro Strips, Rubber Band and an NFC Tag which is optional. The box itself is specced specifically to work with most devices and screen sizes, just make sure to use plans or purchase the headset that’s designed for your device’s size. Google also designed a special UI to simulate the VR experience, by utilizing all the high end tech your current device has inside it. Since your device is already equipped for VR argo it’s accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, this seems like a no brainer, at least for Google.

Google wants to immerse you in an interactive virtual reality with nothing more than a piece of cardboard and your current device. Providing free virtual reality apps for 360° video, gaming and interactive educational apps on both Apple and Android platforms, but other than the Google provided Cardboard app some 3rd party apps may vary store to store depending on the developer. With the Google Cardboard app you get a portal to a virtual world that feels bigger than the tiny 5 inch screen it’s being displayed on. Described as a theater experience, with the feeling of looking at a huge screen at a pleasant distance it’s easily fun for everyone of all ages.

It’s just a box, but thanks to your current device’s super high end tech, it’s so much more than just Cardboard. It’s a virtual reality console with endless possibilities for entertainment & educational purposes, for those of all ages.

#360Video:                                             bestcardboard-cardboard-100569399-orig

Watching VR 360° videos is an indescribable experience that can only be understood by participation, spectators will get a good laugh. You don’t necessarily need a VR to watch a 360° video via mono screen, although the side by side VR style with head movement to control the view is incomparable. To watch a 360° movie or music video, simply open YouTube and search #360Video. You can select the viewing options on the player, in the bottom right corner via the goggles icon. There’s a variety to choose from, music videos like live concerts to horror movies and live action adventures that bring the POV into the stories.

 

Star Wars – 360° Virtual Reality

The Star Wars #360Video gives you a short POV of a Droid wheeling along on the Death Star marching floor. While wheeling through the corridors of the infamous destroyer of worlds, the Sith Lords right hand Darth himself makes an appearance. While on the mighty Death Star, you’ll get the unique perspective of a lonely single dorid on its mission to collect data and escape with its batteries intact.

 

360° Horror | “Eat You Alive” with Chris Riedell, Jason Horton and Lauren Reeder

When it comes to virtual reality horror the YouTube Space LA team is winning with its new video. Get that fly on the wall feeling in this zombie apocalyptic stand off between man and monster, which aren’t so different in this story. With headphone and an office chair that rotates for ease of view, you’ll feel as if you’re standing in the room frozen in fear. It’s a highly adult horror short that’ll get your heart pumping damn near outta your chest.

Gaming (Android)

Thanks to Google’s Cardboard project, virtual reality gaming that fully brings a player into its characters world is finally here. The way a game acts and reacting to movements and provides a believable experience. When you add a gaming controller and headphones into the mix you get one h.e.double hockey sticks of an experience that takes your breath away. The games currently available aren’t the best of quality in the sense of graphics and storyline. Think of this as a big beta test to see if there is a market for VR that’s worth the time and effort to develop higher quality more expensive games. In consequence the more users and downloads of VR apps will push the development community to make better games.

House of Terror VR

This is a creepy twist on escape the room that takes place in a virtual world, where you’re trapped in a house of terror with monsters and no way out in sight. Your goal is to survive each room, avoiding giant spiders and lurking evil, while looking for the way out. This app does require a bluetooth gaming controller for moving the character around the room, a VR headset like Google Cardboard and a pair of headphones to really be immersed into the experience. If you want to test your escaping skills as well as you courage, this game is perfect for you.

 

Galaxy VR Cardboard Space FPS

Galaxy VR is a space flight simulator that puts you in the cockpit of a starship fighter. You’ll get to experience a true VR FPS thats multiplayer. This game has it all from amazing graphics to reaction timing with seamless head tracking and it’s an online multiplayer, could you ask for more? You can even look down and see your full body avatar, the controller in your hands and the hands reacting to your button pressing IRL (in real life). With an option to play first person or 3rd person view, there are 3 different camera angles in game play to choose from. Unlock the full app by paying a small fee, for additional gameplay options and modes. Once you get used to the movements and past the motion sickness this app is definitely one of my favorite VR games. Join me in the fight, download the app now and get ready because there is no traditional main menu here. You  start the game in mid flight, sitting in a starfighter with a 3D holo HUD in your lap, and in a fight for your life against other live players from around the world. What are you waiting for? The future is here, go download it!

PS:

You can even play Flappy Bird from the Birds POV with Flappy For Cardboard VR.

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Apps (Cardboard Demo)

The free interactive educational opportunities provided by Google alone are worth the small investment in Cardboard. You can visit and learn about historical places and look around as if you were actually standing in the room. Get a tour of a famous foreign or domestic landmark with your own personal virtual tour guide. Visit the old neighborhood and walk the streets to slight see with Google Street View and be your own tour guide. Visit and learn with Google Cardboard, it’s time to go on an adventure.

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Tour Guide

Let’s go on an adventure, without leaving the comfort of our couch. Learning historical facts about places you’re practically standing in. Very interactive and immersive with the Tour Guide saying “to your right, over to the left you’ll see”, things like that really make you feel like you’re standing in a room with a person whose describing a room as if they were there with you. It makes learning feel fun, I almost forgot it was an based on teaching i found myself spacing out and wandering around looking at the whole surrounding area. This would be a good way to teach the kids about places all over the world and keep their attention while doing it. Only thing I would like to see added to this tour guide app is a LIVE #360Video for a more convincing feel of being there, or at least some sounds of the scenery. Overall, this is an amazing app for learning about our world and the special places some only dream to see like this.

Expeditions

“Expeditions lets teachers take students on field trips to anywhere. Coming to schools worldwide in time for back to school. If you’re an educator, learn more about bringing Expeditions to your school” Click Here to learn more.

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Weeeeeeee, boy Google Earth VR is fuuuuuuun! This is one of those (needs a controller) to really enjoy apps. Just strap in and strap…on? It’s going to be one hella ride. Flying from city to city from a bird’s eye view. Visiting old places, and future old places to be. Checking out New York City and taking a FPV flight around the Statue of Liberty as if you’re an American Eagle. Google Earth was always a blast, but this is a welcomed add-on to the mix. Using the gaming controller to move front, back, side to side and to control which direction you’re moving to and fro simply use your head and look to stear. Go take a look at what’s out there via Google Earth in a whole new virtual reality world, where you feel like a spirit moving with the wind high up in the sky. Go anywhere in the world and feel as if your flying right above your dream vacation spot or old fishing hole, this is a tool only limited by your imagination. Go explore the world, your world.

 

TILT BRUSH GALLERY

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View creations made with Tilt Brush, a painting application made for virtual reality. Load pre-made sketches and watch them draw in as they were originally created.” Click Here to learn more.

 

In A Nutshell:

Google really nailed VR. They got it gaining momentum in the development community, which is good for VR, because without developers there’s no content for users. Using a person’s current device with a simple cheap cardboard box setup, freaking genius! Now for comfort and user friendly ease of use i’d suggest a little modification to the simple setup Google lays out. For example; I use an elastic sweat band to hold the Cardboard device on my head so I can use the gaming controller. Also I added tiny cushions to the nose rest, since it starts to irritate the skin after a few minutes of uses. I’ve also added a few good layers of duct tape to the cardboard as a reinforcement to strengthen its dexterity. In conclusion I enjoy using wireless headphones to enhance the experience with the spatialized audio, which helps fully immerse me in the world i’m playing or exploring in. Once you have your own Cardboard setup, you’ll find your comfort zone and person interests, just give virtual reality a chance.

You can learn in a whole new format. Taking education to a whole new level by taking you from your seat to the venue. Interacting with the student and giving them a personalized experience in a way that was never possible before. Children will never learn the same thanks to Google, and that’s a beautiful evolution in education. Affordable high quality VR in the hands of the masses, that’s Google’s goal. Even Gaming in VR changes game play and how a player interacts with the game world. Looking right, leaning over, falling back, all have a reaction in the virtual world giving players more control than ever. Imagine being able to duck IRL and the enemy in VR misses his killshot. Picture shooting in one direction, steering the character in another all while looking in the other direction for cover without moving the flow of fire. I call this the triple Y axes advantage, that only VR games can provide. Even movies and music videos have to reevaluate their way of production to accommodate this new media and social outlet. Being in the center of the experience is what entertainment strives for, it’s that feeling you get when you tunnel vision into the screen and forget you’re in a theater full of other people experiencing the same sublime euphoria, that is the true goal. With VR and #360Video the future of media entertainment is here, and it’s beautiful.

 

How I Use Google Cardboard VR:(Android)

VR, as we know it right now, is in it’s early beta testing. Slowly but steadily picking up users along the way, as more and more developers create more and more apps. By contributing to the VR “cause” with purchases of apps and leaving good ratings and positive encouraging reviews, I hope to motivate developers to create more and I suggest you do the same.

I like to watch #360Videos, play VR games & take Tour Guides all around the world. With my Beats By Dre PowerBeats2 bluetooth headphones and my Amazon Fire TV gaming controller I can fully immerse myself in a movie and video game. Sitting in the comfort of my office chair I can spin 360 degrees with ease, which takes a lot of the work off the neck when turning 180. Watching movies in 360 with spatialized audio is how I like to enjoy short films. I wouldn’t enjoy long length feature films that are over 15 mins long. After about 15 mins I find myself needing a break from the virtual world, because of motion sickness. So I watch short horror films that bring me into the terror and give me that feeling of fear and excitement that only movie theaters once could deviever. There are some good action films that are good #360Videos but there is something about the horror genre and VR that compliment each other perfectly. Gaming in VR is a whole different ball game, and takes a lot of getting used to. Moving around spinning and flipping in a virtual world, even running in VR for long periods of time can have IRL effects. I only game for about 5 mins at a time, to keep myself from feeling vertigo and getting nauseous. I think this is a graphics and rendering meets head tracking and stitching issue, that money could solve. So again I encourage you to download VR apps, try them and leave some positive reviews and feedback. I prefer to VR with Android, since there are more developers and well Google does Cardboard. That and my bluetooth gaming controller won’t work with my Apple device, but there are VR apps for Apple devices. Personally I like the way my iPhone 6 plus’s bigger screen produces the VR effect in my Cardboard rig over my Samsung S6. So when I using an app like Tour Guide, which doesn’t require any interaction just pure observation, I tend to use my iPhone 6 Plus for the more clear and detailed viewing experience. I love introducing people to VR for the first time and watching their reactions to it. It brings me great joy to see someone smile ear to ear while experiencing something so new and foreign for the very first time.  

So, that’s how I like to do VR. I hope this was informative and motivated you to at very least give Google Cardboard or any form of new age VR a try.

 

Kenn Bosak

Writer/Dev./Tech

Google Cardboard VR

November 1, 2015

Marshmallow Headache
Nexus 6P

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