I first came to know about this origami-like cardboard viewer on a China online store. It didn’t catch my eye until I read about it on a tech site about what it actually does, so I went back to the online store to make the purchase. Google’s website has detailed instructions on how to do it yourself but I’m not a handicraft guy.
After I downloaded the Cardboard app on Android, I realised what this thing is all about. The app generates 2 windows of stereo images and when viewed using the cardboard, allows each eye to focus and watch the images, creating a stereo effect.
But it’s not just a 3D viewer. The Cardboard app is meant to showcase virtual reality interaction. When you move your head or the smartphone, the images move with it.
As of now, there are limited applications available, but it’s a novel experience for people who has never worn a VR headset before. The app contains pre-loaded content, except YouTube where you can watch online videos by giving voice search, and Photo Sphere where you can load the 360-degree images you have recorded with the Google Camera app. To select, just slide the magnetic input. To return to main menu, tilt the phone 90-degrees.
The cardboard is too small to fit me with my glasses on. It was ok after I removed my glasses but I would have to squint to see the footages clearly. My daughter had a great time, as far as I could see.
Currently, the list of compatible smartphones include Nexus 4 and 5, Motorola Moto X, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, S4, S5. iPhone reportedly works too but you have to use other VR apps. I tested with the HTC One M8 and it seems to work perfectly, including the magnetic input. Your smartphone needs to be around 5-inch screen size for best effect. Larger phones will not fit in the Cardboard.
Since you own an Android phone, why not just get one and have some cheap fun? This cardboard toolkit is really more for app developers to create content easily using the available SDK. To buy your very own VR cardboard headset, here’s the link where I ordered from.