Google creates a cardboard virtual reality viewer!

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Google is known for doing wonders! Even if you think the search engine itself isn't that amazing, the search engine giant has recently made a virtual reality viewer out of cardboard boxes.

As per a news report in The New York Times, Google introduced its virtual reality viewer - a cardboard box, with some lenses and a magnet, that looks a lot like a plastic View-Master toy - as a gift at last year's I/O conference.
The idea was to create an inexpensive virtual reality device that allowed anyone with a smartphone to do things like fly through a Google Earth map of Chicago or view personal pictures in three dimensions.

It is a comically simple contraption: A smartphone slips into the front so it sits just inches from a user's eyes. Peering through a pair of cheap, plastic lenses renders the images on the phone's screen in 3-D. It costs around $4.

Typical of the Google playbook, the company put Cardboard's specifications online so hobbyists and manufacturers could build them.
The Cardboard update is a modest offering compared with the product splashes of previous Google conferences, which have included a spherical entertainment system that was never released and Google Glass, the much hyped and now discontinued computerized eyewear that caused significant privacy concerns.

With Cardboard, Google's virtual reality is decidedly low cost and low frills, but, as in other Google efforts, like the free Android software that is the most widely used operating system in the world, it seems meant more to amass an audience than make money.

Over the last year, Google has developed a 360-degree camera that looks like a chandelier rigged with 16 GoPro video recorders, and currently has about a dozen of them filming sights around the world. When run through Google's software and processors, the footage will turn into a virtual reality rendering that tries to mimic the view from a human eye. Google said it would allow people to start uploading virtual reality videos to YouTube this summer.
"We wanted the viewer to be as dumb as possible and as cheap as possible because we basically wanted to open VR for everyone," David Coz, an engineer in Google's Paris office who developed Cardboard told the NY Times.

Cardboard was the final act of the show, which featured a giant screen that wrapped around a San Francisco auditorium as if to mimic the experience of being immersed in a deep, three-dimensional world.

Beyond the virtual reality videos it plans on putting on YouTube, Google is also using its Cardboard device in its growing education efforts. Over the last year, the company has been running a trial called Expeditions in about 100 classrooms, in which teachers can use the viewers to take their students on a tour of world sites.

(Image: Reuters)

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