Virtual reality is on the up. Just last month, Sony unveiled Project Morpheus, a prototype virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4. A week later, Facebook agreed to shell out $2bn for US technology firm Oculus VR, best known for its Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift VR headset for gaming. These are among a new generation of devices that many believe will completely transform the way we consume media and communicate.
If you can't wait for the Oculus Rift to hit the market, or if you're reluctant to drop $350 once it does, filmmaker Eoghan Kidney has a DIY alternative. At a workshop at this year's Darklight festival, Kidney demonstrated how you can create a virtual reality headset using a smartphone, goggles, cardboard, tape, the plastic lens from a pair of cardboard binoculars and a lollipop stick.
This lo-fi solution takes advantage of the app ecosystem and motion sensors in your smartphone. “The technology pretty much already exists in our pockets,” explains Kidney.
Kidney’s cardboard version replicates Durovis Dive, a plastic headset that acts as a smartphone holder. He uses the same Dive Launcher app to access virtual reality content, such as games and what he calls “rollercoaster experiences.”
It’s not perfect, but it is effective. If you strap the goggles on tight enough and neatly apply the tape when sticking the lens onto the goggles - to avoid seeing a big black blob between your eyes - you’ll get a small glimpse of what is to come.