Game Pill Interactive

What is Google Cardboard?

  • February 24, 2015
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Trust us, it is way cooler than it sounds.

Cardboard is Google’s way to allow users to experience Virtual Reality in a simple, fun and inexpensive way, using a headset made only out of materials you probably already own and can easily get!

How does Google Cardboard work?
There’s two essential parts to Cardboard; the headset, and your smartphone.
The virtual reality technology is powered by Google’s own mobile operating system, Android, that renders the images necessary to the experience and tracks user and sensory input.

When you boot up your phone inside the viewer, it will display two adjacent images for the left and right eyes to simulate one three-dimensional image. This is known as binocular rendering. To feel like you’re looking into a virtual environment, apps utilize your phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to detect movement, subsequently moving the image you are seeing.


What is it made of?
The viewer itself is comprised of cardboard (held together through flaps and slots), lenses, magnets for menu navigation, Velcro, and a rubber band.

You can build Cardboard yourself from home, by finding the necessary parts and following Google’s downloadable instructions, or you can purchase a pre-fabricated kit from a manufacturer.

All you have to do is assemble it. Some of manufacturers, such as Unofficial Cardboard, sell individual parts, in case you were missing something when building your own viewer!

If you want to purchase a pre-made kit, all you have to do is head on over to Google’s Cardboard website, where they link you to manufacturers like DODOcase and I AM CARDBOARD.

The price for viewers range from $15.00, giving you the simplest of viewers to about $30.00 for some extra features (like an internal NFC tag). There’s even a viewer constructed out of aluminum produced by Knox Labs that prices at $85.00!

How do I develop for Google Cardboard?
Developers can create apps and games that take advantage of the Cardboard’s VR experience, and make them available on the Google play store. The game engine Unity has even developed a Source Development Kit (SDK) so developers can create cardboard applications while using a familiar and popular engine. The SDK can even adapt already existing applications for virtual reality!

What to look out for?
Google recently announced a partnership with world-famous toy designer Mattel to bring back the iconic View-Master and give it a 21st-century makeover.

The new toy will take advantage of Google’s virtual reality technology to recreate the effects that were achieved by the original View-Master toy virtually. The classic reels will still exist but they provide different experiences dubbed “360 degree photospheres” that take you to see places like a space shuttle or Alcatraz.

So far, there aren’t many apps available for Cardboard. However, because Cardboard is so affordable and easy to use, it enables many developers to inexpensively experiment and create applications for the virtual reality environment.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at if you want to brainstorm ideas for your brand, or to check out what we’ve been working on!

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