The future is now. Google Cardboard, a device that allows users to experience virtual reality at an extremely low cost, has been out since 2014, but has only started to gain traction recently. For only $5 ($5!!) you can travel the world, play games or watch movie trailers in 3D. The Google Cardboard devices themselves are made out of low–cost materials such as cardboard (fucking duh) and lenses composed of small pieces of glass. Interestingly enough, Google doesn't manufacture the devices itself. Instead, different companies (including Google) sell kits with the parts included, so as to allow for more access to the device. Once you buy a kit, it's up to you to put the device together, kind of like IKEA (but you probably won't want to strangle yourself halfway through assembling it).
How it works:
Google Cardboard works in an interesting way that makes it possible for it to cost so little. There's no actual component in the device itself for synthesizing virtual reality. In its place is a compartment in the front that opens up where you can slide an iPhone (or any smart phone, as long as it's less than six inches long ;) ). There are tons of apps such as NYT VR, put out by the New York Times, which let you view short videos about current events or movie trailers. You can do other things with Google Cardboard, too. There are apps like Dive City, which simulate a roller coaster ride (vommy sensations def included).
Is it worth it?
One of the only drawbacks of the Google Cardboard is the relatively low quality of the lenses. It low–key feels like you're looking through those bug eye toys you had as a kid. The images can appear pixelated at times, which adds to the vommy feeling. This problem could probably be fixed with higher quality materials, but that would drive up the cost of the overall product. I don't know about you, but I don't really want to pay more than $5 for a piece of foldable cardboard. All in all, Google Cardboard is really fun to play with, but it fails to serve a more useful purpose other than entertainment.