Google has been gracing headlines in tech news consistently over the past few weeks with new technology designed for the masses. This week, its most alluring technology is a device meant to let everyone experience virtual reality, right from their smartphones. The device, named “Cardboard,” attaches to any phone or tablet up to six inches long.
This includes the Apple iPhone. Virtual Reality is not a shockingly new concept; headsets have been around since the late 90s, albeit low quality ones. Recently, some of the larger tech giants released VR headsets that immerse users in a virtual world full of complex imagery. But these devices come at a high price point, averaging roughly $350. But Google’s Cardboard version is just a fraction of that price: $20.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of Google Cardboard is that it is, in fact, made of cardboard. The device uses a series of bent cardboard pieces, lenses, a magnet, and a rubber band to create a virtual world that mounts to your smart phone. To outsiders, someone using the device looks like he or she is looking into a cardboard box. But inside, they are being transported to a completely virtual reality, with their smart phone driving the ship. Consumers everywhere will be able to experience their own virtual reality world at a very affordable cost. However, critics are not so receptive to the technology.
Critics are worried that Google Cardboard will allow access to a VR technology that isn’t quite there yet. They have expressed their fear that a sour experience this early on in the game could ruin the hype surrounding VR technology. But the general public doesn’t seem to mind. Of course, everyone wants to try out VR, and most of us don’t have hundreds to spend on a smart phone device that allows us to.
As of right now, Google is staying away from using VR technology for gaming. It’s encouraging Google services like Google Earth to let users experience VR in places around the world. Have you ever wanted to visit Japan? Now you can by firing up Google Earth, choosing a destination, and strapping on Cardboard.
It’s hard to tell where the future of VR will lead us, but Google seems to be the company that will bring this amazing technology to the general public first.