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Google Cardboard Takes Virtual World  To New Levels

By Adetunji Oluwatosin.
Google is continuing its push into the virtual world with a second version of Cardboard, a smartphone holder that converts any phone into a display for a virtual reality headset. The company also announced a new rig to hold cameras for creating  video, software to stitch the images together into a cohesive VR scene, and a program to bring virtual reality “field trips” to schools.
At last year’s Google I/O conference, the company announced its clever Google Cardboard virtual reality smartphone holder. Essentially a fold-up box with two lenses in it to make looking at a phone inches from your eyes possible, it made a lowest-common-denominator version of virtual reality available for those who didn’t have or didn’t want to pay for a dedicated VR rig like an Oculus Rift.
This year’s version of Cardboard has a few improvements, including a much easier assembly process and a better button, for apps that require it.

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Google’s Clay Bavor introduces the new Cardboard at Google I/O.

Cardboard still relies on a smartphone with specialized software to generate images, as well as a phone’s orientation sensors to move the image to match your head movements. With the right software, the effect is convincing, and frankly remarkable given the minimal price of the additional hardware required.
Holding a cardboard phone holder up to your noggin for VR hijinks is a great science experiment. But does it have any real-world use other than as a developer’s playground? Google thinks so. It has created a kit for schools that lets classrooms take VR field trips to anyplace you can show on a smartphone.
Google addressed the challenge of creating VR content. The company announced the Jump, a rig that holds 16 cameras (most notably those from its new partner, GoPro) in the right orientation to create surround scenes. Google also talked up its service to take the video from these 16 cameras and stitch them together into seamless virtual worlds.
Google will first make the stitching service, which it says “takes thousands of computers” available to select content creators this summer.

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