The expected boom in use of the devices for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could not be tied to expensive 3D viewers, but to simple devices of cardboard (or plastic) and apps able to use your smartphone to navigate in VR mode.
It is Google Cardboard, just a viewer that could be obtained from a sheet of cardboard cut and folded (if you prefer an already finished product in a more durable material such as plastic you can opt for the Samsung Gear), that thanks to the use of two bifocal lenses, of two magnets, a rubber band and some strips of Velcro allows you housing on your smartphone, with the appropriate app, and use it as a very cheap virtual reality viewer (less of 20 euros for Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear currently is given for free to those who buy the new Samsung 6).
Since high performance viewers as Oculus Rift will cost at least initially several hundred euros, the fact that the Google Cardboard numbers are already impressive is not surprising: in a year and a half have been shipped over 5 million devices, branded Google as well as Visa, Lowe’s, SyFy Channel, The New York Times, Star Wars and much more. The corresponding app has been downloaded 25 million times from Google Play, with 10 million downloads just from November to December.
Even more interesting, there are already a number of apps for Google Cardboard in addition to the official one which already allows a number of different experiences: Tour Guide, to virtually visit Versailles, Exhibit, to see an exhibition of masks in 3D, Windy Day, a short interactive cartoon, Earth, i.e. the VR release of Google Earth, My Video, to transform your photo gallery in a multi-screen cinema, Photo Sphere, to admire the photo sphere created by Google Camera.
From horror videogame A Chair in a Room (the most downloaded third party app) to Vrse (allowing you to see a series of “short” in VR created in collaboration with publishers such as The New York Times and NBC), from VR Roller Coaster to Jurassic VR, there are so many apps that you can already use. And if you use regularly Youtube be aware that have already been uploaded more than 350,000 hours of footage at 360 degrees that can be viewed, if you wear Cardboard Google or Samsung Gear, simply turning your head and… looking around.
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