The cardboard is for Google’s aptly named ‘Cardboard’, a virtual reality device which anyone can build, so long as they purchase cheap bi-convex lenses and they have access to a smartphone. When you connect all the dots together, what you have is a cheap way to immerse yourself in a virtual world. The software on your phone splits the image into two side-by-side images, at a slight distance apart, and the cardboard box feeds one image to each eye. This creates a 3-dimensional effect. The bonus is, because your smartphone is so awfully smart, it can tell when you’re moving your head. This makes the image move on the phone, and so it makes you feel like you’re immersed in a virtual world.
Fortunately, I showed off my present to a friend who instantly saw the potential for something more with the technology; a way to utilize the technology to improve the music album he had just created with his colleagues. Wow. Okay. How are going to do that?
Easy. Just download software and figure it out. I’ll make the sounds come from all around you, and when you interact with different objects, different sounds from the album will come out of it.
That sounds amazing.
It turns out I also have something artistic in my arsenal too – a science-fiction novel – ready to be unleashed onto an unsuspecting world. Could I make an app for that too? My story is even about a future in which virtually created worlds are built to perfectly recreate, and therefore to bring to life, historical events. The concept of building an immersive virtual experience to accompany the book, like an elaborate three-dimensional advert, sounded more than ideal.
We made a pact to download a piece of computer game design software called Unity, which is free if your annual income from the products is less than $100,000. Most of the current virtual reality apps are built using this, so we would do the same. With this software, we challenged each other to learn the basics over the next few weeks and to build a proof of concept within 6 weeks.