When I was ten, I watched The Lawnmower Man. Before then, I hadn’t heard of virtual reality and if there was ever a film to excite and terrify a person on the subject, it was this one! So I was super interested to learn we’d be working with Air New Zealand on a new Google Cardboard app – even if it doesn’t include weird metallic lovers slowly merging together.
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality platform for mobile and is used within a cardboard headset with the phone mounted inside. It’s an extremely low-cost application of VR technology created by two Google engineers, David Coz and Damien Henry, in an attempt to spark interest and development in the VR world.
A Google Cardboard–compatible app splits the screen down the middle, creating two displays – one for each eye – which are viewed through lenses within the headset. The app taps into the phone’s gyroscope to match the on-screen display with the movement of the user’s head.
Air New Zealand asked us to create an app that would allow travel agents to explore each of the three cabin types within their new airplane. By issuing branded headsets and directing them to download the app, they will be able to physically “look around” the interiors of this aircraft, and access key pieces of information about the different features.
I truly hope the rise of Google Cardboard apps, 360° interactive YouTube videos and products like the Occulus Rift will re-ignite passion and growth within the VR market, and we’ll soon have holodeck-style virtual experiences in our own homes. In the meantime, we’ll always have The Matrix, Existenz, The Thirteenth Floor and… um… Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace?