Google Cardboard launched at the I/O event to significant praise, with the device being called ‘Virtual reality for the masses’. Essentially an android phone sandwiched into a user-created cardboard headset, the technology has already managed to capture the imagination of developers.
For those with a compatible Android phone (either one of the newer Nexus devices or Samsung units), and the necessary cardboard sheet, lenses and rubber bands, a number of exciting applications are already available to try – with more no doubt on the way.
Here are a few of the noteworthy applications, most developed by Google.
Building upon the years of work required to create Street View and 3D mapping, Google Earth for Cardboard lets users fly around the world at a low altitude, changing direction to look around the landscape. Users are even able to ascend to space and find another location to explore.
Further revisions of the technology will likely mean the ability to walk around cities and buildings. A similar application was also developed for the Oculus Rift initially.
The benefits of owning YouTube appear to be paying dividends here, as users can watch any video from the incalculable catalogue available on YouTube on a massive screen, similar to cinema modes in other headsets such as the Oculus Rift.
The main video is displayed in the centre, while related content is located on the sides. Using the control mechanism on the Cardboard unit, users can change the currently playing video.
A piece of content originally developed for Android smartphones, Windy Day now has VR support. Telling the story of a cartoon mouse, viewers use the headset to tilt around the virtual environment and see what’s above and below the character.
While certainly not a fully-fledged VR game experience on the scale of something such as Lucky’s Tale, Windy Day is a charming title, and a good demo of what’s possible in the VR space.