Looking for a fun, cheap, tech gift idea?
What would be the breakout toy this year, if enough people knew about it, is Google Cardboard.
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality headset of sorts. It’s actually made out of cardboard, with some lens and a sponge, and can be had for under $20.
You slip your smartphone into it, look through the lens, and suddenly you can see a virtual world in 3-D. You turn your head, then turn all the way around, look up, look down, and you get amazing virtual reality scenes all around you.
Part of the fun is that as soon as you look through it, you forget all about it being cardboard. Suddenly it’s like you’re in a scifi movie using a futuristic VR headset.
And, almost more fun than using it, is watching other people use Google Cardboard for the first time.
I took one to a tech class that I teach and it was such a blast. Students would look through it, say “okay”, then I would tell them to move their head and look around.
Suddenly their jaw would drop, they’d break out into a big smile, and start going “WOW!”, “WHOA!”, “AWESOME!”.
Other students would laugh as the user would turn their head and make funny faces and exclamations, while looking around at things nobody else could see.
Then the other students would beg to use it next…. or again.
There’s a growing number of Google Cardboard virtual reality apps available through Google Play and the Apple App Store. In the Google Cardboard demo app, there’s a photosphere that surrounds you with pictures from your smart phone and a virtual Palace of Versailles to explore.
Along with the Google Cardboard demo app, a roller coaster VR app is a good place to dive into the Google Cardboard experience.
As more virtual reality apps come online, the possibilities are really incredible. From virtual reality tours of museums, historical landmarks, far away ecosystems, space…. to some incredible gameplay, there’s huge potential here.
Putting on a Google Cardboard is, literally, an eye-opening experience.
Surprisingly, Google doesn’t sell Google Cardboard itself. They came up with the design, then gave it away for others to build. Google has a list of sellers here, but they can also be found on Amazon.com. Google Cardboard is available in a variety of configurations and prices at both.
Have you tried Google Cardboard?
Will you be giving one or more out to your friends and family as a gift this year?
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They’ll appreciate the heads up on this fun, cheap, under $20, tech gift idea!