VR with my Phone

It’s been a crazy couple of days for me–on Friday I drove up to Malone to attend the NNYLN Fall Meeting, and today I drove south to Ithaca for fun.  These things are related to each other and also relevant to my theme of “interesting things” because of this “VR Photo.”

Yep, a “VR Photo.”  My first-ever virtual reality photo, in fact!  See, NNYLN gave every attendee a Google Cardboard.  Ok, actually an Unofficial Cardboard, but close enough.  I think it’s Unofficial Cardboard 2.0:

Cardboard VR headset

This was actually my first time trying out a VR headset.  I’ve had opportunities before, but I always passed–there was usually a long line, plus I admit to being slightly squicked out by taking a headset that just sat on the face of each and every person in that line and then putting it on my own face.  Having my very own headset solves both those problems.  Hooray!

A note on how this works, since I hadn’t known beforehand: The headset has a QR code on it that you snap an in-app photo of.  That pairs your phone and the headset so that you can look around in virtual reality and have what you see follow your head movements.  It also allows you to click on things using the big, clunky button on the top right of the headset.  Pretty cool for a mostly cardboard contraption.

Anyway, my initial reaction to trying out the demos with this headset is that it’s *hard* to get everything adjusted so that it’s more or less in focus.  And the emphasis is really on the “or less” part of that statement; it makes me feel like I’m going cross eyed.  I’m going to have to investigate further and figure out if this is a product of my eyes, my headset, the apps I’m using, or what.  Other models on Unofficial Cardboard’s site don’t seem to have adjustable lenses; I wonder if that means they would be better or worse for me?

Thus far all I’ve really tried app-wise is the demo in Google Cardboard, plus Cardboard Camera.  Cardboard Camera is how I took the picture at the top of the post, and I can view it in there too.  Viewing the VR photo does give a much better sense of the depth and impressiveness of standing at the top of Lucifer Falls than a normal photograph does.  And it’s kind of fun to have sound associated with it.

So yeah–virtual reality.  I should probably investigate it further, given the way it finally seems to be taking off.