From ‘cardboard’ to fabric, wearable VR gets more affordable

Ever since those ‘cardboard’ VR headsets came out, I’ve been waiting to see how augmented and virtual reality would be adopted. One big drawback was the cost of the competitive headsets, and of course the phone.

Now it looks like Google has fired back with Daydream, a low-cost ‘fabric’ headset that could put the technology within reach of the rest of us.

Conveniently, the Daydream headset (which works with the Google phone, ‘Pixel’) was designed to be ‘dumb’ – as in minus the electronics. The phone does the hard work, not the headset. I wonder what could follow cardboard and fabric?


Derrick Mains on Augmented Reality

Could a pair of cardboard goggles become a critical student engagement tool?

Derrick_1I invited Derrick Mains to my computer lab yesterday to explain Augmented Reality, and what doors it might open for us educators, and of course students. I think I am sold!

Many students have heard of AR and VR, and you would be surprised how curious they are about this. Just as they are more interested in photography today because of disruptive devices such as the GoPro, they are more interested in Apps like these because of what it could do “seeing things differently.”

Cardboard_tnAs Derrick explained, this is another way to use Apps in education. Not just to stare at a screen but to ignore the screen (which disappears, the moment you put these goggles on) and engage and explore new worlds. We are not talking about fictitious virtual worlds, but uncharted territories whether it is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, or to observe an eco-system in a rain forest.

Some of you might remember Derrick Mains from his work in social media. He was one of my co-presenters in a workshop on Digital Citizenship. The reason he’s on camera again, is because he will be in one of the several videos I am producing with my Salt River Pima-Maricopa TV team for another upcoming workshop.

Browsers will take Augmented Reality mainstream

Rory Cellan-Jones, tech correspondent at the BBC reports on how Augmented Reality is now available in public spaces such as Trafalgar Square.

It ends with a skeptical person saying what many have used before about new developments. The person, of course is one of the Ladygeeks, who says that ionly people with a lot of time to kill will use something like AR. I was immediately reminded of the 1943 comment, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” That was an observation by Thomas Watson, who was the chairman of IBM, no less.

While it is too early to tell if AR will go the way of Second Life, which became a nice experiment and somewhat fad, it is too early to write it off as pointless, or too geeky.

Especially with the new Augmented Reality browser, Wikitude, that has already started appearing in some smart phones. Before the browser came along, you could download an application such as Layar that works with the iPhone and Android.

You don’t need to be technically savvy to use interact with AR. The camera in a smart phone, laptop, tablet even iPod is all you need. The browser does the rest. Says Wikitude, “By using the camera, simply hold up your smartphone and explore your surroundings. Wikitude will overlay the camera’s display and the objects you look at with additional interactive content and information.”

Soon there will be many browsers, such as Wikitude. Another good browser called Argon was out earlier, and was developed by Blair MacIntyre, at the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. When that happens, it won’t be people with time to kill who begin using it. As organizations, cities, libraries, and media and entertainment companies begin to see the value in layered, augmented information, how we think of AR will change.