What is VR?
VR or Virtual reality is the technology which creates stimulated environment. Unlike traditional interface like using keyboard or mouse, VR places the user inside the adaptive environment. Which means, they will be able to interact with object in the virtual environment.
In Virtual reality, the computer uses the sensors & cameras and calculates things accordingly. The VR also depends on the positioning of the eyes of the user. Because this technology uses the gyroscope which helps to explore. For example, you just need to turn your head to look around like in the real environment. This is why virtual reality creates more user convincing and interactive world for the environment.
How VR works:
Virtual reality uses the headset which is a wearable one like the ones from Oculus and OSVR. It runs with the help of three things i.e. a PC which can handle all the processes, a console (Oculus & OSVR) or a smartphone (Google cardboard & similar ones) and some kind of input. Input depends on what kind of device you have. If you use an Oculus, there’s no need of that sort because the inbuilt gyroscope helps you to make things easier and more realistic. But the ones like the Google cardboard needs physical input like using your hands to move across.
VR headsets like Oculus rift, HTC vive, OSVR and PlayStation VR are referred to as HMDs which is the abbreviation of ‘Head mounted displays’. And the one’s like google cardboard are not HMDs even though with no tracking and audio, holding up the Google cardboard takes you half into the virtual world.
VR headsets uses two feeds sent to one display like the ones in google cardboard or two LCDs (One per eye) like the ones in HMDs. Once the picture is sent, VR does its magic. A minimum of 60 frames per second is needed to convince your mind. Something below that might make the users feel sick. However, the Oculus VR has a capability to go up to 90 fps whereas the PlayStation VR up to 120 fps.
Note more fps = Smooth and realistic.
Google cardboard is a must for those who wants to try out VR on budget. If you have ever tried oculus rift or OSVR that is a separate world. Whereas, google cardboard is a simple piece of cardboard and couple of lenses. That’s it.
Cardboard viewers may get hold of them easily because that is the most inexpensive way to experience VR. It is an initiative which was launched by Google on 2016 to encourage the growth & development of virtual reality. And the reason for the name to be ‘cardboard’ because it’s cheap and anyone can purchase and make their own headset using simple cheap stuffs.
The main sole aim of the Google cardboard was to break the VR industry by giving the immenseness of the VR at a cheap cost. You can pick one up for yourself online for few bucks. There are few listed by google themselves starting from $15 to up to $40 whereas the HDMs are priced at $1,000+.
Image Credits – Google
Google Cardboard Versions
Google had launched their Cardboard v1 way back in 2014 where it was sold in package which contained pieces of cardboards, magnets and couple of lenses. You have to assemble the pieces and this doesn’t fit the larger screen phones.
Whereas the Google cardboard v2 was launched at Google I/O 2015. It was an updated version to the previous version of the Google cardboard v1 and this was the best because it was preassembled and it also fits the larger phones too. The only downside of the v2 is that it is little expensive than the Google cardboard v1.
If one is buying Cardboard, always go for Version 2. VR is better when it’s immersive. The key aim of the system is to offer immersive experience, mimicking the human vision, sound and orientation senses.
Field of view (FOV) of human eye (both eyes combined) is almost 180 degrees. Google Cardboard version 2.0 has wider aspherical lenses giving higher field of view, which is almost equal to that to high end VR systems.
One can get (third party) Google Cardboard with official specifications in under Rs. 300. Google Cardboard does really give what it advertises, decent VR experience to the masses.
Google cardboard App
Yes, Google has their own app for those who want to find content for their VR devices. The Google cardboard app has various categories depending on which you can proceed.
Here are few categories offered by the Google Cardboard App:
Earth – Go to places you haven’t been to.
Tour-guide – Explore interesting places right from your home.
My videos – Converts your videos to VR compatible way, which feels like watching in a huge theater.
Exhibit – Examine cultural artifacts like the way you have never experienced.
Photo sphere – Have a peek around the photos you have clicked.
Arctic journey – Fly around, create things and relax.
Best VR apps for Google Cardboard:
1. Starwars VR – Enjoy the starwars content in VR and many other special starwars content.
2. NYT VR – This is the official app by the NewYork times which gives you unique VR experience of their own content.
3. Google Street view VR – Explore your streets in VR!
4. Tilt brush gallery – Tilt brush isn’t available for non HMDs devices, but the cardboard users can have a look at the best creations in the tilt brush.
5. Beer box – A drunk simulator. Like seriously, here in this app you can set the drunk level and you can experience how it feels like to get drunk.