Google Cardboard

Missing Google I/O doesn't mean you miss out on all the fun

One of the developer gifts handed out at Google I/O was – initially, at least – a perplexing piece of cardboard. What it actually turned out to be was a do-it-yourself virtual reality (VR) headset that could be used to interact with an Android smartphone. The good news for everyone who didn't go to I/O is that you, too, can join in the fun and games by making (or buying, if you're less handy) your very own.

Google has posted the complete instructions to building your own cardboard headset on its developer site. To get started you'll need to acquire some cardboard (of course), lenses, magnets, velcro, a rubber band and an NFC tag. You'll also need an assortment of cutting tools which could include a laser cutter if you so desire.

Google Cardboard

Hit the page link up at the bottom of this post for the full details on exactly what you'll need and how to make it. But, if – like me – you're not so handy, or you just don't want to go out looking for lenses and such items, there is another, easier way. Buy a kit.

The folks at DODOcase have taken Google's instructions for the cardboard headset and used them to create their own version which they'll happily sell to you. You'll still need to perform some basic home construction to put your flat pack together but after that you'll have your very own cardboard headset. Get it with or without an NFC tag for $24.95 or $19.95 respectively.

Beyond the hardware you'll also want to get a copy of Google's Cardboard application which is available in the Play Store – you'll find the link for that up top. It'll give you a variety of immersive demonstrations on just what's possible from sources like YouTube and Google Earth.

If you're looking for something to occupy this weekend, hit the links below and give it a whirl. If you go ahead and get making – or if you've already done it – let us know how you get on in the comments below.


Reader comments

Weekend Project: Make (or buy) your own Google cardboard VR headset


"Get it with or without an NFC tag for $19.95 or $24.95 respectively."
So its cheaper to buy the kit WITH an NFC tag? odd
Cool idea though

If you really have to ask that question, you're not terribly bright... maybe try using your brain next time.

Posted via Android Central App

i purchased the version with the NFC chip installed. i have the feature, why not use it my device to the fullest.i cant wait for it to be delivered.

I wouldn't mind trying to build this myself, but where the heck does one purchase the lenses? Are they expensive?

I snagged the lenses out of a pair of binocular glasses my kids had laying around. They're cheap plastic lenses but they work perfectly. Although I did have to modify the design to change the focal length slightly; but it's only cardboard.

I ordered a kit on eBay. It was a few bucks more than the Dodocase one, but it ships immediately. I'm super excited to try it out.

Does anyone know if this will work with a nexus 7 or if anyone sells one that does work with it for cheap

You'll probably need to upscale the cardboard device size. But keep the lenses in the same place. This will probably screw up the focus. As the screen is bigger and needs to be further away. I'd say its probably not easy.
Could be worse, you could try it with a nexus 10.

Posted via Android Central App

yay3d is for nexus 7, i can't find anything for nexus 10, can't even find anyone crazy enough to test with 10 inch tablet on youtube, only saw picture on airvr for ipad

No. Strapping a 7 inch tablet to your face isn't practical and all the kits are designed for 4-5 inch phones. If you really want to try you can make your own you can make it yourself, but you'll have to adjust the cardboard measurements though.

Posted via Android Central App

The only prefabbed Nexus 7 headset I've seen is the Yay3d one, which is $50 and ugly as sin. I've got lenses on order to attempt a Cardboard mod for mine (using aspheric lenses with 2" focal length off eBay, $8-12 each depending on how many you buy), if it works I'll probably try to knock something more comfortable together with a headband and stuff.

This is very cool. With so many cutouts needed, I'd definitely just order the kit. I want to try to build an easier DIY project first, though, like a smartphone projector. It only requires one circular cutout for the magnifying glass, which is typically sold at $1 stores.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

The only weekend project I am interested in this weekend is killing these kegs and continuing the meat burning marathon


on a serious note, this is pretty cool. read about it a few days ago somewhere. I am not much of a DIY kinda guy so I will wait for the completed stuff.

This article ought to mention that version 1.1 (previously 1.0) of the app is now available. Shrank the space used from about 600 MB (~200 app + ~400 data) to 194 MB (90 app + 104 data). Alas, Windy Day is still using Portrait instead of Landscape on my Moto G.

Posted via Android Central App on my HP TouchPad (Schizoid PAC-ROM 4.2.2)

Doesn't seem to work on my Moto G. I downloaded the app, and the screen doesn't tilt or move when I move the device.

Seems odd, seeing as Google themselves said the Moto G works, iirc.

Launch it in landscape. Or, if already launched, go to Recents in landscape mode and choose it again. The Moto G doesn't have a gyroscope but it does have an accelerometer so it needs a starting position for calibration.
Posted via Android Central App on my HP TouchPad (Schizoid PAC-ROM 4.2.2)

Whenever I use the cardboard app without an actual cardboard (I've found the touch target for selecting) the view drifts to the left. Any advice?

Posted via Android Central App

Start it in landscape mode, or go to Recents in landscape mode and choose it. I'm guessing you don't have a gyroscope but do have an accelerometer.

Posted via Android Central App on my HP TouchPad (Schizoid PAC-ROM 4.2.2)

Hi did you find a cure for this as I'm having the same problem, I'm using a galaxy s4 and the drift is making it unusable it drifts even out of the cardboard, I start it in landscape mode still the same

My Moto X has a major drift issue... Factory calibration of the gyro seems really bad as I compare to my Nexus 7!
I RMA the phone but it makes 6 weeks!!! The first replacement phone was ok but the camera was not centered!

NFC will only work on an NFC enabled phone... If you have a phone that isn't NFC capable you just wasted your $$...
I'm guessing the chip is pre-coded to start the Google VR app...

I bet this would also work for the demo apps in the play store from "dive games": dive wings, dive rollercoaster, launcher, etc.

I found that I could get some of the 3D effect just by opening their apps and holding the phone at the appropriate focal length from my eyes and moving it with my head, without having the box/lens.

I'm quite short sighted so all I have to do is take off my spectacles and relax my eyes.
However, I have an Xperia Z Ultra and it's got a 6.4" screen, so the images are too far apart, but I was able to watch the youtube video in portrait mode and see the 3D.

Still looking for answer to Where to buy Google Cardboard in India at cheapest price? Shop at: Now experiencing virtual reality on a mobile phone will no longer be limited to people of certain nationalities as the shopping Virtual Reality website, launches Google Cardboard based Do-It-Yourself Virtual reality kit in India.