Google Cardboard Lets Smartphone Users Experience Virtual Reality

Google Cardboard Lets Smartphone Users Experience Virtual Reality
Build Cardboard With Google's Free, Downloadable Plans
Begin Assembly and Install Your Smartphone
Get the Cardboard App to Start Using the Viewer
Explore With Google Cardboard
Now You Can Look at VR With Cardboard
Pre-cut Kits Also Available for Cardboard
Unofficial Cardboard's Kit, Ready for Building
Once Built, It's Ready for a Smartphone
Here's What It Looks Like to the Wearer
Sizes for Small and Large Smartphones
Knox Labs Sells an Aluminum Premium Version
Foam Versions From I Am Cardboard
DODOcase Also Offers Kits
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Google Cardboard Lets Smartphone Users Experience Virtual Reality

By Todd R. Weiss

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Build Cardboard With Google's Free, Downloadable Plans

Once you download the plans, you can trace them onto cardboard and carefully cut and score the pieces using a sharp hobby knife and other simple tools. Here is what the finished product will look like after the layout, cutting and scoring processes are finished.

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Begin Assembly and Install Your Smartphone

Once the parts are created, you can fold and assemble the parts until they form the boxy-looking Cardboard VR viewer. Several other parts are also needed, including some Velcro, a rubber band, two small magnets and some aftermarket lenses, which can be purchased online.

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Get the Cardboard App to Start Using the Viewer

Once built, the device needs the Cardboard app to work with your compatible smartphone. The Cardboard app helps you launch your favorite VR experiences, discover new apps and set up a VR viewer.

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Explore With Google Cardboard

The Cardboard app works with most modern Android phones, including the Google Nexus 4 and 5, the Motorola Moto X, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5, and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Some phones are partially compatible. Devices must be running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher.

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Now You Can Look at VR With Cardboard

Some of the things you can do with the Cardboard app and your device include exploring the sights and destinations of Google Earth (as seen in this image of spectacular terrain), or take a virtual tour in a city such as Versailles with a local guide.

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Pre-cut Kits Also Available for Cardboard

One vendor, UnofficialCardboard.com, sells partially and fully assembled kits for $14.95 to $26.90 so users don't have to build Cardboard from scratch. The kits include special corrugated cardboard that is laser-cut to Google's specifications.

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Unofficial Cardboard's Kit, Ready for Building

Each Unofficial Cardboard kit includes special cardboard and the symmetric biconvex optical lenses, magnets, rubber bands and other parts that are required for construction.

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Once Built, It's Ready for a Smartphone

The user's smartphone fits into a slot in the side of the device so that the eyepieces and other parts line up properly with the phone and its components.

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Here's What It Looks Like to the Wearer

The back side of the Cardboard device, with a smartphone installed, looks a bit like a classic Viewmaster 3D Viewer, which allows users to view stereo images on special cardboard and film photo reels. Here's what it looks like from the wearer's perspective.

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Sizes for Small and Large Smartphones

Cardboard versions are available from Unofficial Cardboard in two sizes, for regular-sized smartphones with displays up to 5.2 inches and for larger models with screens up to 5.7 inches.

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Knox Labs Sells an Aluminum Premium Version

Another vendor, Knox Labs, sells a special $85 hand-built version that's made from anodized aluminum, shown here. Knox also sells actual cardboard versions at prices from $14.95 to $27.

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Foam Versions From I Am Cardboard

If you want your Cardboard viewer built from soft, flexible foam, then you can buy one from I Am Cardboard, which sells viewers in foam or cardboard at prices from $19.99 to $36.99. This is the company's black EVA foam version, which sells for $34.99.

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DODOcase Also Offers Kits

Cardboard kits from vendor DODOcase range from $21.95 to $24.95 and assemble in less than 10 minutes. Like the other brands of Cardboard devices, they are also compatible with specific Android and iPhone 5 and 6 smartphone models.

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