One of the most hyped stories in the world of technology is the development of powerful, affordable virtual reality headsets for the commercial market. For architects, the ability to immerse yourself in an imaginary world is an enticing prospect, for both professional and recreational uses - but at $200 and upwards for what is still a product under development, devices like Oculus Rift are not for the faint-hearted.
But now Google, ever the ambassador for the more fiscally-cautious tech junkie, has a solution that won't break the bank. Their contribution to the emerging virtual reality market is "Google Cardboard," which creates a simple headset from an Android-powered smartphone and - you guessed it - some cardboard. Read on to find out how it works.
Google offers various options to get your hands on a cardboard headset: a number of online companies are offering pre-constructed headset in a variety of styles; or you can construct one yourself by downloading Google's instruction kit, which offers an eps vector file for use on a laser cutter or a pdf to cut out by hand. Pair this with a few additional components (lenses, a rubber band, a magnet and some velcro), and you've got yourself a fully customizable VR headset.
The final piece of the puzzle is a series of Google Cardboard enabled apps, which use a split screen display to immerse you in an alternate three-dimensional reality. Current options include a trip around Hobbiton, an interactive animation called "Windy Day", and "Chrome Experiments for Google Cardboard," an app that parses a number of Google's highly addictive Chrome Experiments into the Google Cardboard format.