Google's I/O developer conference has had a large number of announcements, some a little more interesting than the others. Then there are some that are down-right strange - at least at first. Google's "Cardboard" easily falls into that category. Imagine sitting at I/O, watching a keynote, and then being told to pick up some cardboard on the way out. You might begin to think that Google had lost it.
Well, that really did happen, and event-goers were handed a sheet of corrugated cardboard on their way out of the auditorium. Of course, this wasn't an ordinary piece of cardboard - it could be unfolded, and reconstructed into a Virtual Reality housing unit for an Android smartphone. It's easy to jump to conclusions that this is a Google Glass for "normies", as Peter Griffin would put it, but it's actually quite a bit different.
The most interesting thing about Cardboard is that it's designed to be built from easy-to-source items - items that can be found around your house, or at the local hardware store. Google provides design files to make things easier. Here's what the parts should look like once all laid out:
And here's what it looks like once all constructed, and the time comes to insert the phone:
Finally, the finished product:
A device like this would be useless without an app, so don't worry, Google has one. With it, you can take a tour of earth through Google Earth, watch YouTube videos on a "massive screen", walk down the street with Street View, and partake in some other fun activities. Because the app will take advantage of a phone's head-tracking capabilities, you might be able to understand why this solution could be so immersive.
As you'd expect, Google's releasing a VR Toolkit for Cardboard so that developers can begin creating some interesting experiences.
What do you think? Are you raring to build one of these things?