Retro Google Cardboard (AKA Google Brass) VR

I have always been into affordable entertainment and gadgetry.   So when I finally found a source to buy a Google Cardboard, (a fancy name for a box you wrap around your smartphone to turn it into a Virtual reality viewer),  I jumped at the chance.  (one of our members had already lasercut one but the tricky part was finding strong enough lenses.  figured id buy one, and then work my way around to finding ways to duplicate it. )
Its funny I knew exactly what it was physically, and was prepared to have some fun with it.  But I must say my first 15-20min experience with the default app google put out first,   It blew away all my expectations.   Sure the cardboard rig was clumsy,  the magnet switch was finicky,  the pupulary distance was not quite right, and my big head and mismatched perscription eyes were less than ideal for it.  but it was just a toe in the water.  I could always modify(cut, tape, shape) the cardboard,  or even lasercut my own wide enough to fit my face, (which I later did). but even withh all its warts, it was a very fun, “You gotta try this”  thing.    I love watching people when they realize they can actually look around, or fly around,  or see the world with interesting camera effects.

But what amused me the most about google cardboard is, its really just a stereo-viewer,  These things have been around since the 1800’s    and those
view masters disks,  full of Disneyland I remember so well (much better than actually visiting at age 5).   But with the update of  Accelerometer/gyroscope, and real time image rendering.  (these contraptions we call smartphones are amazing bits of tech we take for granted every day).   So from day 2, i decided i needed to retrofit Google Cardboard, into a classic stereo viewer. So i tracked down a small pocket travel stereo photo viewer and out of junk cobbled together a phone holder for it.
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This was fun, and I liked it, but wanted to go back even older,  so i kept hunting for an older wooden stick style of Stereoviewer/Stereoscope
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Holmes stereoscope” by User Davepape on en.wikipedia – Photo by Davepape. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Finally finding one, I set about to putting a small tripod mount on it and a cellphone holder. I put it on what would be the bottom of the card carrier allowing me to flip it over and retain the original function of the antique. and I must say, its alot of fun, the optics are great, the focus adjust is good, people can use it with or without glasses. and its more social, others can see what your Virtual Reality Viewing, and it lends an air of the continuum of entertainment.

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Side Effect of having the card holder on the bottom of the cross, is it makes the unit sit nicely on a table too!    These builds were/are featured on the Gallery of Cardboard makers, (bottom of this page.

For those you dabbling in cardboard VR, ive been compiling links and tips and some of my own instructables about how to make cardboard go the extra mile.  Sure its never going to be an oculus rift killer.  but its helping to get people like me tinkering and hacking.  and more and more apps/demos/games/augmented reality things are happening because of all of it.   follow my tip and advice here.


Happy Hacking in this new year!

Feel free to give me shouts,  or questions via twitter @killbox #googlebrass

About Adric

Local, Geek Of All Trades. Serious Supporter of Quelab and hacking/making things. Boardmember at Quelab and all around scrounger!