VR or Virtual Reality viewers, are gaining popularity, mainly because of a product from Google called, “Google Cardboard”. In a nutshell, Google has made getting into “Virtual Reality” in a simple, fun, and affordable way. They make apps that let anyone explore virtual reality, in a variety of creative and fun ways. There are a lot of companies who make Google Cardboard viewers, which are literally made of cardboard, that let you experience these adventures, without spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars it used to cost, just a short time ago. These cardboard viewers are available all over, and simply stated, they let you drop your smartphone in, and start playing with these virtual worlds! Most cost around $20 but savvy shoppers can find them for even less.
I personally came across a product called the View-Master® by Mattel, and what initially impressed me most about their “VR Viewer” is the quality of the viewer, when compared to the cardboard versions I had been looking at before. I was able to find it for around $20 also, so it was an easy decision to give this one a try. The good news is, this viewer is compatible with all of the VR apps, and Google Cardboard apps, that are available for your smartphone, and believe me, it’s addictive and very fun.
Interestingly, they were the original creators of the View-Master®, which if you had one as a kid, was a pretty cool technology for its time, that let you view 3D images, and it was pretty cool! Well, now it’s still 3D imaging, but a lot more immersive. They do make a product that still looks almost identical to the original round reels that were made for the original View-Master®. These new digital versions, while they look very similar to the old ones, are a whole new experience. They call them “experience packs” and they are very cool, but a little pricey, when compared to the many free Google Cardboard apps. At the time of my purchase, they were going from between $10 and $16 dollars, and I suppose these will be great experiences, and educational for kids especially. It’s very cool that the viewer can work with all the apps, and the uses will be amazing!
If you have heard of these “Virtual Worlds” and want to dive in, I highly recommend the View-Master® to get started, and if you want the higher end versions, check out products like the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus Rift.