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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google for use with a fold-out cardboard mount for a mobile phone. It is intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR and VR applications. It was created by David Coz and Damien Henry, Google engineers at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris, in their 20% "Innovation Time Off", and was introduced at the Google I/O 2014 developers conference for Android devices.
assembled Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard Assembled
Google Cardboard headsets are built out of simple, low-cost components. The headset specifications were designed by Google, but there is no official manufacturer or vendor for the device. Instead, Google made the list of parts, schematics, and assembly instructions freely available on their website, allowing people to assemble Cardboard themselves from readily available parts. These parts are a piece of cardboard cut into a precise shape, 45 mm focal length lenses, magnets or capacitive tape, a hook and loop fastener (such as Velcro), a rubber band, and an optional near field communication (NFC) tag. Google provides extra recommendations for large scale manufacturing, and pre-assembled kits based on these plans are available for less than $5 from multiple vendors, who have also created a number of Cardboard variations.
Once the kit is assembled, a smartphone is inserted in the back of the device and held in place by the selected fastening device. A Google Cardboard–compatible app splits the smartphone display image into two, one for each eye, while also applying barrel distortion to each image to counter pincushion distortion from the lenses. The result is a stereoscopic ("3D") image with a wide field of view.

The first version of Cardboard could fit phones with screens up to 5.7 inches (140 mm) and used magnets as input buttons, which required a compass sensor in the phone. An updated design released at Google I/O 2015 works with phones up to 6 inches (150 mm) and replaces the magnet switch with a conductive lever that triggers a touch event on the phone's screen for better compatibility across devices. A port of the Google Cardboard demonstration app to Apple's iOS mobile operating system was released at the same conference.

Google provides two software development kits for developing Cardboard applications, both using OpenGL: one for Android using Java, and one for the game engine Unity using C#. After initially only supporting Android, Google announced iOS support for the Unity plugin in May 2015 at the Google I/O 2015 conference. Third-party apps with Cardboard support are available on the Google Play store and App Store for iOS. In addition to native Cardboard apps, there are Google Chrome VR Experiments implemented using WebGL; phones, including Apple's, that support WebGL can run Google's web experiments.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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