Hey guys and gals, hope you are having a fantastic 2017 so far. I recently got my birthday presents, and one of the things that came in the mail was a virtual reality viewer. It may sound pretty high tech, but in reality it is a piece of hard cardboard with some lenses you look through. You put a smart phone inside the viewer, download an app such as Google Cardboard and then place the viewer on your face. These viewers have become quite popular since Google announced their Cardboard project in 2014. Cardboard was originally released as a low cost way for people to experience and grow interests in virtual reality. People can even download specifications from Google to make their own viewer out of simple components at home, or you can purchase a viewer from them or one of their partners.
Since the release in 2014, more than 5 million Cardboard viewers have been shipped and more than 1,000 compatible applications had been published. Google has since released Jump to go alongside Cardboard, which is a video capture device to allow users the ability to record virtual reality video. This was accomplished by merely putting 16 cameras in a ring together, with GoPro sponsoring the initial tests. You then compile all the videos together with the included “Assembler” video editing program. The compiler uses a special type of photography called computational photography and computer vision that will generate thousands of in between viewpoints. Finished video can be uploaded to Youtube and viewed through their stereoscopic view using a cardboard viewer. Google has also partnered with man schools to offer “Expeditions” where students can go on a virtual field trip. Kits would include 30 cardboard viewers and smartphones, as well as a tablet for the teacher to act as a tour guide.