Cardboard VR Project – The Inexpensive Alternative For Virtual Reality

When people discuss cutting edge technology, and interactive software, the discussion will inevitably touch the realm of Virtual Reality. VR software and gaming has come a long way, but could remain difficult to reach because of it’s price point, estimated between $200 to $400 for consumers. But now there’s an alternative that is inexpensive, and is made out of cardboard, a few spare pieces, and a smart phone.


Cardboard was developed by David Coz and Damien Henry at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris, who decided to experiment with smartphones in order to create a Virtual Reality experience. This resulted in the design of a physical, cardboard-based enclosure that turns a phone into a basic headset. Along with this, the Google experimenters provided an open software toolkit that makes writing software for the device painless and inexpensive.

Cardboard is made up of a few different materials, including:

  • Cardboard in a certain design
  • Lenses
  • Magnets
  • Velcro
  • Rubber band
  • NFC tag (optional)



Anyone interested in building their own enclosure can visit Cardboard‘s website, which includes a list of necessary tools and directions, as well as a list of phones that are fully and partially compatible with the enclosure. At the very least, the phone must be running Android 4.1, and would further benefit if it supports NFC. The site also includes a number of experimental VR apps that are ready for download. As a matter of fact, the folks at Soda Drinker Pro are working on a mobile version of the popular game (trailer shown above), complete with Cardboard integration.

So let’s be honest, who’s going to start building one of these?

I'm a big JRPG fan in general, but games with a good story and great characters are what drive me. It touches the writer in me.