Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone. Named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, the platform is intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR applications.[1][2] Users can either build their own viewer from simple, low-cost components using specifications published by Google, or purchase a pre-manufactured one. To use the platform, users run Cardboard-compatible applications on their phone, place the phone into the back of the viewer, and view content through the lenses.

The platform was created by David Coz and Damien Henry, French Google engineers at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris, in their 20% "Innovation Time Off".[3] It was introduced at the Google I/O 2014 developers conference, where a Cardboard viewer was given away to all attendees. The Cardboard software development kit (SDK) is available for the Android and iOS operating systems; the SDK's VR View allows developers to embed VR content on the web as well as in their mobile apps.[4]

Through March 2017, over 10 million Cardboard viewers had shipped and over 160 million Cardboard app downloads had been made. Following the success of the Cardboard platform, Google announced an enhanced VR platform, Daydream, at Google I/O 2016.

Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard logo
Second-generation Google Cardboard viewer
ManufacturerGoogle, third-party companies
TypeVirtual reality head mount
Release dateJune 25, 2014
Units shipped10 million
Operating systemAndroid, iOS

Viewer assembly and operation

Google Cardboard - Fully unfolded, continued
Assembled Google Cardboard VR mount
A Cardboard viewer unassembled (top) and assembled (bottom)

Google Cardboard headsets are built out of simple, low-cost components. The headset specifications were designed by Google, which made the list of parts, schematics, and assembly instructions freely available on their website, allowing people to assemble Cardboard themselves from readily available parts. Pre-manufactured viewers were only available from third-party vendors until February 2016, when Google began selling their own through the Google Store.[5]

The parts that make up a Cardboard viewer are a piece of cardboard cut into a precise shape, 45 mm focal length lenses, magnets or capacitive tape, a hook and loop fastener (such as Velcro), a rubber band, and an optional near field communication (NFC) tag. Google provides extra recommendations for large scale manufacturing, and pre-assembled kits based on these plans are available for less than US$5[6] from multiple vendors, who have also created a number of Cardboard variations.

Once the kit is assembled, a smartphone is inserted in the back of the device and held in place by the selected fastening device. A Google Cardboard–compatible app splits the smartphone display image into two, one for each eye, while also applying barrel distortion to each image to counter pincushion distortion from the lenses.[7] The result is a stereoscopic ("3D") image with a wide field of view.

The first version of Cardboard could fit phones with screens up to 5.7 inches (140 mm), and used magnets as input buttons, which required a compass sensor in the phone. An updated design released at Google I/O 2015 works with phones up to 6 inches (150 mm), and replaces the magnet switch with a conductive lever that triggers a touch event on the phone's screen for better compatibility across devices.


Google provides three software development kits for developing Cardboard applications: one for the Android operating system using Java, one for the game engine Unity using C#, and one for the iOS operating system.[8] After initially supporting only Android, Google announced iOS support for the Unity plugin in May 2015 at the Google I/O 2015 conference.[9] Third-party apps with Cardboard support are available on the Google Play store[10] and App Store for iOS. In addition to native Cardboard apps, there are Google Chrome VR Experiments implemented using WebGL; phones, including Apple's, that support WebGL can run Google's web experiments.[11][12] A port of the Google Cardboard demonstration app to iOS was released at Google I/O 2015.[13] In January 2016, Google announced that the software development kits would support spatial audio, a virtual reality effect intended to simulate audio coming from outside of the listener's head located anywhere in 3D space.[14][15]

In March 2016, Google released VR View, an expansion of the Cardboard SDK allowing developers to embed 360-degree VR content on a web page or in a mobile app, across desktop, Android, and iOS.[16] The JavaScript and HTML code for web publishing VR content is open source and available on GitHub, allowing developers to self-host their content.[17]

Related initiatives


Jump is an ecosystem for virtual reality film-making developed by Google. It was announced at Google I/O on May 28, 2015. Much as Google did with the Cardboard viewer, for Jump the company developed specifications for a circular camera array made from 16 cameras that it will release to the public.[18] GoPro partnered with Google to build an array using their own cameras,[19] although the Jump rig will theoretically support any camera.[18] Once footage has been shot, the VR video is compiled from the individual cameras through "the assembler", Jump's back-end software. The assembler uses computational photography and "computer vision" to recreate the scene while generating thousands of in-between viewpoints.[18] Finalized video shot through Jump can then be viewed through a stereoscopic VR mode of YouTube with a Cardboard viewer.[18]

Expeditions is a program for providing VR experiences to school classrooms through Google Cardboard viewers, allowing educators to take their students on virtual field trips.[20] It was announced at Google I/O 2015, with plans to launch in fall 2015.[21] Each classroom kit would include 30 synchronized Cardboard viewers and smartphones, along with a tablet for the teacher to act as tour guide.[22] Teachers interested in bringing the program to their school can register online.[23] CNET called Cardboard "the first Virtual Reality platform targeted at children."[24] Through May 2016, over one million students had taken a VR field trip through the Expeditions program.[25] In July 2017, Google released a standalone version of the Expedition app, separating it from the platform's education initiative and making it available to the public.[26]promotions

In November 2014, Volvo released Volvo-branded Cardboard goggles and an Android app, Volvo Reality, to let the user explore the XC90.[27] In February 2015, toy manufacturer Mattel, in cooperation with Google, announced a VR version of the stereoscopic viewer View-Master. Android support was available at the viewer's release in fall 2015, with support for iOS and Windows smartphones available later.[28]

Google also collaborated with LG Electronics to release a Cardboard-based headset for the LG G3 known as VR for G3. Released in February 2015, it was distributed as a free accessory with new G3 models sold in certain countries, and was perceived to be a competitor to the Samsung Gear VR accessory.[29]

On November 8, 2015, The New York Times included a Google Cardboard viewer with all home newspaper deliveries. Readers can download the NYT VR app on their smartphone, which displays journalism-focused immersive VR environments.[30]

In December 2015, Google offered free Star Wars-themed Cardboard viewers through the Google Store and Verizon as a part of promotional tie-in for the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[31]

Ticket holders for the 2016 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival received a Google Cardboard–inspired cardboard VR viewer in their welcome package that can be used with the Coachella VR mobile app. The festival's organizers partnered with to offer VR content for the festival, such as 360° panoramic photos of previous events, virtual tours of the 2016 festival site, interviews, and performances.[32]


On January 27, 2016, Google announced that in the platform's first 19 months, over 5 million Cardboard viewers had shipped, over 1,000 compatible applications had been published, and over 25 million application installs had been made. According to the company, users viewed over 350,000 hours of YouTube videos in VR during that time, and 500,000 students took a VR field trip through the Expeditions program.[33][34] Through March 2017, over 10 million Cardboard viewers had been shipped and over 160 million Cardboard app downloads had been made.[35]


The success of Cardboard convinced Google to develop more advanced virtual reality hardware and appoint a new chief of virtual reality.[36] Google announced an enhanced VR platform called Daydream at Google I/O on May 18, 2016.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Pierce, David (May 28, 2015). "Google Cardboard is VR's Gateway Drug". Wired. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  2. ^ Branstetter, Ben (June 28, 2015). "Cardboard is everything Google Glass never was". Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  3. ^ Statt, Nick (June 25, 2014). "Facebook has Oculus, Google has Cardboard". CNET. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Pierce, David (April 14, 2016). "Inside Google's Plan to Make VR Amazing for Absolutely, Positively Everyone". Wired Magazine. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Fingas, Jon (February 29, 2016). "Google starts selling Cardboard VR viewers through its store". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Dougherty, Conor (May 28, 2015). "Google Intensifies Focus on its Cardboard Virtual Reality Device". New York Times. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "Unity Reference: Google Cardboard". Retrieved June 3, 2015. ...specifies whether you want the values as seen through the Cardboard lenses (Distorted) or as if no lenses were present (Undistorted). ... When VR Mode is enabled, stereo cameras render side-by-side to this target automatically. Each frame, the result is corrected for distortion and then displayed. ... Implements the same barrel distortion that is performed by the native code.
  8. ^ "Google Cardboard – Google". Google. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  9. ^ Tarantola, Andrew (May 28, 2015). "Google Cardboard now works on iOS". Engadget. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  10. ^ Broida, Rick (July 17, 2014). "Five more apps that work with Google Cardboard: Games, flight sims, movie players, and more, all great fits for your Google VR headset". CNET. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "Virtual Reality". Chrome Experiments. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Johnson, Dave (August 18, 2014). "Google Cardboard works on the iPhone, too". CBS News. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  13. ^ Lee, Nicole (May 28, 2015). "Google Cardboard VR for iPhone hands-on". Engadget. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  14. ^ Eadicicco, Lisa (January 14, 2016). "Google's Cheap Virtual Reality Headset Is About to Get Better". Time Inc. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  15. ^ Martz, Nathan (January 13, 2016). "Spatial audio comes to the Cardboard SDK". Google Developers Blog. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  16. ^ Vincent, James (March 31, 2016). "Google's new VR View tool allows easy embedding of 360-degree content". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  17. ^ Martz, Nathan (March 30, 2016). "Introducing VR view: embed immersive content into your apps and websites". Google Developers Blog. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d O'Kane, Sean (May 28, 2015). "Google Jump is an entire ecosystem for virtual reality film-making". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  19. ^ Duino, Justin (May 29, 2015). "We took a look at the GoPro Google Jump camera array". Android Central. Mobile Nations. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  20. ^ Etherington, Darrell (May 28, 2015). "Google Launches 'Expeditions,' An App For Shared Virtual School Field Trips". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  21. ^ Novet, Jordan (May 28, 2015). "Google announces Cardboard Expeditions to let teachers take classes on field trips". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  22. ^ Lee, Nicole (June 4, 2015). "Google makes its case for VR by reinventing the field trip". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  23. ^ Robertson, Adi (May 28, 2015). "Google has a new Cardboard headset, and it supports iPhones". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  24. ^ Stein, Scott (June 2, 2015). "Cardboard for kids: Google's bet on the future of VR is children". CNET. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  25. ^ Novet, Jordan (May 19, 2016). "Google is working with IMAX and Yi Technology to build Jump-ready VR camera rigs". VentureBeat. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  26. ^ Matney, Lucas (July 19, 2017). "Google opens Expeditions VR education app to the public". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  27. ^ Ziegler, Chris (November 13, 2014). "Volvo is using Google Cardboard to get people inside its new SUV". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  28. ^ Baig, Edward C. (February 13, 2015). "View-Master rides Google Cardboard into virtual reality". USA Today. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  29. ^ "For LG's G3, virtual reality is just a bundle away". CNET. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  30. ^ "NYT VR: How to Experience a New Form of Storytelling From The Times". New York Times. November 5, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  31. ^ Olanoff, Drew (December 11, 2015). "Get a Free Star Wars Edition Google Cardboard". TechCrunch. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  32. ^ Brennan, Collin (March 10, 2016). "Coachella 2016 will be broadcast in virtual reality". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  33. ^ Dipane, Jared (January 27, 2016). "Google: 5 million Cardboard viewers shipped, 25 million VR apps downloaded". Android Central. Mobile Nations. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  34. ^ Singleton, Micah (January 27, 2016). "Google has shipped over 5 million Cardboard headsets". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  35. ^ Jonnalagadda, Harish (March 1, 2017). "Google has shipped 10 million Cardboard VR headsets since 2014". Android Central. Mobile Nations. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  36. ^ Nicas, Jack (January 12, 2016). "Alphabet Appoints New Virtual-Reality Chief". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  37. ^ Robertson, Adi; Miller, Ross (May 18, 2016). "Daydream is Google's Android-powered VR platform". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved May 18, 2016.

External links

360-degree video

360-degree videos, also known as immersive videos or spherical videos, are video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback on normal flat display the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama. It can also be played on a displays or projectors arranged in a sphere or some part of a sphere.


BaDoinkVR is a virtual reality porn production company founded in 2006. It is the AVN Awards 2018 VR Site of the Year award winner. Sister sites include BaDoink VIP, VRCosplayX, 18VR, RealVR, and BabeVR. BaDoinkVR is headquartered in Rochester, New York with satellite offices in Barcelona, Spain and Silicon Valley. The company was the first to drive mass consumer trial of VR adult videos by seeding the market with 20,000 free virtual reality cardboard goggles.

Bear 71

Bear 71 is a 2012 interactive National Film Board of Canada (NFB) web documentary by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes about a grizzly bear in Banff National Park, who was collared at the age of three and was watched her whole life via trail cameras in the park. In March 2017, Bear 71 was re-released as a virtual reality work, viewable on Google Daydream and Google Cardboard.

Cardboard Crash

Cardboard Crash is a 2015 National Film Board of Canada (NFB) mobile app and virtual reality work developed by Vincent McCurley, exploring the ethical issues of autonomous cars.Produced for the NFB in Vancouver by Loc Dao, Cardboard Crash explores the ethical consequences of self-driving car algorithms and how should they be chosen. It presents users in a scenario where they are driving with a child in the vehicle and a road incident presents them with three alternative actions: veering left and colliding with a family, driving into a truck, or turning right, off a cliff. The accident-in-progress is slowed down to bullet time, as users are forced to make the choices a computer might have to make, with no ideal solution.Cardboard Crash was selected to the 2015 DocLab program at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam as well as the New Frontier section of 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In April 2016, it received the Webby Award for Online Film & Video/ VR: Gaming, Interactive, or Real-time (Branded), as The NFB’s Cardboard Crash VR for Google Cardboard. In November 2016, it received the award for Best Mobile Entertainment at the Digi Awards.

Fraser Tombs

The Fraser Tombs are a necropolis located 10 km (6.2 mi) northeast of Al Minya, Upper Egypt. They sit around 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Tihna el-Gebel village, which was an ancient limestone quarry.The rock-cut sepulchres date to the Fourth and Fifth dynasties of the Old Kingdom.These tombs were first discovered in the fall of 1853 by the German Egyptologist Heinrich Brugsch and first described by the British civil engineer George Willoughby Fraser, whose name was given to these tombs.The tombs belong to a 3 km (1.9 mi) long necropolis of the ancient town of Mer-nefer(et) (also Per-Imen-mAt-chent(j), TA-dehenet, or Akoris). The tomb owners were stewards of the royal estate. In the fifth dynasty, they were Hathor priests and there is a temple to Hathor nearby.Four of the fifteen (numbered) tombs contain statues and carved hieroglyphics dating from the Old Kingdom. The most important of the sepulchres is the second tomb which is probably the tomb of Ni-ankh-kay (Neka-Ankh), which has the shape of a mastaba. The decoration of the small and long offering room consists of statues of his family.A written authorization or will was discovered in the tomb of Ny-ka-Ankh stating "they shall act under the authority of my eldest son, like they act for my own property".The Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt says there are many tombs and ancient ruins in Tihna el-Gebel which are available to the public. The Fraser Tombs are open to the public but are rarely visited by tourists, perhaps because the only way to reach them is by taxi, with a police escort, due to heightened security in the area. An excellent video of the exterior of the area is a 360° video available and narrated on Youtube, and available as virtual reality on Google Cardboard, Google's virtual reality platform.

Google Daydream

Daydream is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google that is built into the Android mobile operating system (versions "Nougat" 7.1 and later). Compatible phones that follow the platform's software and hardware specifications (and are thus designated "Daydream-ready") are used in the Google Daydream View VR headset. The Daydream platform was announced at the Google I/O developer conference in May 2016, with the first VR headset released on November 10, 2016. Daydream is the company's second VR platform following Google Cardboard, which was a low-cost system intended to encourage interest in VR and was built into compatible mobile apps rather than the operating system itself.

It is not to be confused with the "Daydream" screensaver feature that had been introduced with Android 4.2 in 2012 and was renamed to "screen saver" after the 2016 launch of the VR platform.

Google I/O

Google I/O (or simply I/O) is an annual developer conference held by Google in Mountain View, California.

I/O was inaugurated in 2008, and is organized by the executive team. "I/O" stands for input/output, as well as the slogan "Innovation in the Open". The event's format is similar to Google Developer Day.

HandyGames GmbH, doing business as HandyGames, is a German video game developer and publisher based in Giebelstadt. In July 2018, the company was acquired by THQ Nordic.

In-game photography

In-game photography (also known as screenshot art, screenshot photography and professional gaming photography) is a form of new media art, which consists of photographing video game worlds. Screenshot photography has been featured in physical art galleries around the world. The validity and legality of this art form is sometimes questioned because in-game photographers are taking photos of artwork created by the game's designers and artists. However, for the most part in-game photographers share the same motivations as "real life" photographers, including a desire to capture visually interesting images, preserve memories, and demonstrating technical expertise.One of the earliest known works of in-game photography was Thirteen Most Beautiful Avatars by Eva and Franco Mattes. It was exhibited in the virtual world of Second Life in 2006. The exhibit featured photographs of Second Life avatars set in a virtual art gallery.

In May 2016, NVIDIA unveiled in-game screen capture software with professional features that would allow the average person to achieve the art quality of professional game photographers. The software also features VR photography features that are smartphone and Google Cardboard compatible. Ansel was released for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in August 2016. PlayStation announced a free-roam mode for the PS4’s Firewatch, in November 2016, for amateur use on its console system.

Konstantin Andreev (entrepreneur)

Konstantin Andreev (Russian: Андреев Константин Сергеевич) is a Russian entrepreneur, founder & CEO of RoundMe, a VR image publishing and virtual tour authoring platform, and Geenio, a web-based online e-Learning platform for creating and managing interactive courses.He started his career in the financial sector working for Citigroup and American Express.

In 2014, he launched RoundMe, a 360-degree mobile application which lets users to create, upload and share panoramic photos and multimedia content of real spaces, that users could visit virtually using Google Cardboard or any VR headsets. The company was listed on Apple’s iTunes as "Best New App" 2015. RoundMe raised a $3 million round led by April Capital in 2015, reportedly by TechCrunch.Since 2012 Konstantin has been working in e-Learning field of software development. Later in October 2014 he launched an award-winning e-Learning platform called Geenio. Geenio is all-in-one learning management system and e-learning authoring tool from content creation to the final analysis of results.


LING VR (灵镜) is a brand series founded in 2014 by Beijing VR-TIME Technology Co., Ltd. The goal of LING VR is to bring virtual reality into our life. There are currently two product lines under LING VR: BAI series and HEI. BAI is a virtual reality headset that structurally similar like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, mounted with smart phones plus a Bluetooth controller to perform complex input. HEI is an all-in-one wireless headset that positioning in experiencing high quality VR worlds and games.

Redmond Burke

Redmond P. Burke (born 4 November 1958) is a congenital heart surgeon, innovator, software developer, author, inventor, and founder of The Congenital Heart Institute at Miami Children's Hospital in Miami, Florida. He starred in the ABC pilot television show The Miracle Workers. Burke has been recognized as one of the world's most innovative surgeons, and for his use of information technology to improve surgical outcomes.


RoundMe is a virtual tour application which allows users to create, upload and share 360 degree panoramic photos and multimedia content of real spaces, that users could visit virtually using Google Cardboard or any VR headsets. The app is available on the web, iOS and Android. Roundme was positioned as one of the Best New Apps in the iTunes App Store in 58 countries in 2015. Roundme raised a $3 million round led by April Capital in 2015, reportedly by TechCrunch. The company is also hosting spaces for brands including National Library of Belarus and American Airlines.

VR HMD mount

A virtual reality head-mounted display (VR HMD) mount is a mount for attaching a VR head-mounted display. It is distinct from a virtual reality headset, like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Morpheus, Carl Zeiss VR One, as a VR HMD mount does not contain any electronics or screen itself, but rather allows users to insert a smartphone or other device in it and place it on the head.

VTime XR

vTime XR is a free-to-play virtual reality and augmented reality social network created by British virtual and augmented reality innovation company vTime Limited, developed in Liverpool in the UK. Cross platform, the app allows groups of up to four users to "jump into VR or AR and talk in what is essentially a private chat room. Users can customize an avatar and select a 3D environment to host the chat inside".

Launching on Gear VR in December 2015, vTime was the first virtual reality social network on a mobile platform. The app became the first social network to launch on Google Cardboard in March 2016 , and on Google Daydream in January 2017. vTime was also the first virtual reality application to give its users the ability to socialise inside their own 360 images, and was later a launch title for the Windows Mixed Reality platform in October 2017.

In February 2019, vTime became the first cross reality (XR) social network after adding AR mode.. The update gives users the ability to meet and chat with people in a shared virtual space using AR, VR, or 2D Magic Window mode.


View-Master is the trademark name of a line of special-format stereoscopes and corresponding View-Master "reels", which are thin cardboard disks containing seven stereoscopic 3-D pairs of small transparent color photographs on film. It was manufactured and sold by Sawyer's.

The View-Master system was introduced in 1939, four years after the advent of Kodachrome color film made the use of small high-quality photographic color images practical. Tourist attraction and travel views predominated in View-Master's early lists of available reels, most of which were meant to be interesting to users of all ages. Most current View-Master reels are intended for children.

Virtual Reality Website

A Virtual Reality Website is a website that leverages the WebVR and WebGL APIs to create a 3D environment for a web user to explore using a virtual reality head-mounted display.


WebVR is an experimental JavaScript application programming interface (API) that provides support for virtual reality devices, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard or OSVR in a web browser.This API is designed with the following goals in mind:

Detect available Virtual Reality devices.

Query the devices capabilities.

Poll the device’s position and orientation.

Display imagery on the device at the appropriate frame rate.

Within (Virtual Reality)

Within is a technology company based in Los Angeles that creates, acquires, and distributes premium AR, VR and XR experiences across web, mobile, console and headsets.


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