How to make virtual reality glasses from cardboard?

But recently, people paid a lot of money for this! In those days when virtual reality glasses did not leave the cinema screens, in life only wealthy enthusiasts could afford them. For the window into the virtual world, one had to lay out several thousand dollars - because the coveted device used miniature color displays with a resolution of at least 640 x 480 (and the corresponding pixel size) and amazing “gyroscopic” sensors.

Fashion is a capricious lady: virtual reality devices came off the movie screens much faster than they managed to get cheaper and become massive. They forgot about them for a long time, and when they remembered it again, it turned out that a good half of the townspeople carry with them a display with indistinguishable points even under a magnifying glass, and accelerometers with angle sensors. It’s worth adding a case and a pair of lenses to any modern smartphone, and you get VR glasses no worse than those that Johnny Mnemonic wore.

Samsung Gear VR Reliable mount of the Galaxy Note phablet, convenient fixation on the head, specially selected optics with precisely calibrated field of view and minimal distortion - a serious purchase for true lovers of 3D entertainment.

There are several ways to get the coveted lens case. You can buy a serious (and expensive) device with a lot of adjustments, such as Samsung Gear VR. You can order one of the cardboard kits for twenty bucks, the most famous of which is Google Cardboard. And you can not wait for delivery, but make VR glasses with your own hands from improvised means.

Google Cardboard The sleek design recommended by Google is cut and folded from a single flat piece of cardboard. The only negative is that you have to get lenses with a strictly defined focal length and diameter.

Size matters

The design of the glasses, which we invented ourselves, has an advantage over the Google Cardboard: the lenses in it can move relative to the screen, so you can adjust the glasses to the particular vision of a particular person.

Development Details of our glasses, we drew directly on cardboard, in the mode of free creativity, by eye, which is what you want: we really liked the result. In case you want to repeat our experience exactly, we took the dimensions from the resulting parts and drew a drawing. Details are suitable for the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and lenses with a diameter of 3.5 cm with a focal length of 3.5 cm. When marking the bottom wall of the case in size, do not forget to leave a place for the nose. Be sure to provide for the mechanism for fixing the smartphone (in our case, these are hooks and elastic bands).

The length of the housing is determined by the characteristics of the glasses: with an equal lens diameter, the larger the focal length, the longer the housing will turn out, and vice versa. We got two magnifiers in the store with a focal length of 3.5 cm and a diameter of also 3.5 cm. If you find the same glasses, feel free to copy our sweeps.

If the lenses turn out to be different, adjust the length of the housing to their characteristics. Make it easy by eye: put the smartphone on the table, turn on the VR-application and look at the screen through the lenses. You will see that the concept works great even without a case. Having enjoyed the sight, along the way you will get an idea of ​​the dimensions of the future device.

The width and height of the case are determined by the model of the smartphone. The distance between the side walls is equal to the width of the screen, and the distance between the upper and lower plates corresponds to the width of the phone. Our sweeps are drawn with an eye on the device Samsung Galaxy S4.

A piece of thick adhesive tape in the corner of the case performs an important function: it protects the smartphone’s shutdown button from accidental clicks. The adjustment mechanism allows you to move the lens between the screen and the eyes, adjusting to the characteristics of the player’s vision.

To make the case, we chose thick millimeter cardboard. The design must be stiff enough to support the weight of the smartphone and maintain a predetermined distance between the screen and lenses. The septum separating images for the right and left eye is made of thick paper. Also made of paper brackets for lenses. Both cardboard and paper are easily cut with a clerical knife in a ruler.


Welcome to the matrix

Applications for "mobile virtual reality" are not many, but very many. You can find them by the keyword Cardboard (cardboard) or by the abbreviation VR. Among them there are attractions and games, concerts and films, 3D-tours around the cities of the world and educational trips deep into the Universe. We have chosen the most worthy ups from which it is worth starting to get acquainted with the world of virtual reality.

Roller Coaster Vr. There are more than a dozen applications with this name, because the roller coaster is a classic attraction of virtual reality, a kind of Tetris VR application. The most spectacular “slides” you will find by the name of the developer FIBRUM. By turning your head and controlling your gaze as you see fit, you will enjoy the breathtaking views of the hilly jungle, dizzying flights and speed against the backdrop of a lovingly traced background. By the way, the Russian company FIBRUM not only develops excellent software, but also releases a very advanced virtual reality helmet for smartphones with screens of 4.5-5.5 inches.

Zombie Shooter Vr. If you want to see your friend, madly spinning in the middle of the room and shouting inarticulate curses, invite him to play this game. The undoubted advantage of the application (again from FIBRUM) is that it is a real 3D shooter, without requiring additional controllers (joysticks, gamepads or keyboards). The player moves the crosshairs of the sight, turning his head. When accurately pointing at the enemy, the shot occurs automatically. Thus, the principle “where I look, I shoot there” is implemented in the game. I would like to say a special thank you to the developers for not letting the enemies approach the player closer than a couple of meters, otherwise it would be possible to play a game before a heart attack: a virtual zombie in 3D looks much worse than in the most advanced 2D toy.

Paul McCartney. The name of the great Sir Paul is called the application from Jaunt Inc., which offers to go on the same stage with a member of The Beatles and see him literally at arm's length. Full immersion in the atmosphere of the concert is facilitated not only by a three-dimensional image and excellent camera work, but also by surround sound. Unfortunately, the application is only available for devices with a screen diagonal of more than five inches.

Orbulus. The most obvious advantage of virtual reality is the ability to visit the most interesting corners of the world without leaving your chair. This is precisely the purpose of the Orbulus application, designed to transfer the viewer to the most worthwhile places on our planet and even beyond. Take a stroll along Mars, visit the Oxford Museum of Natural History, enjoy the northern lights and rejoice at Hong Kong's New Year's fireworks. The application implements interesting control mechanics with the help of a glance: to go to the desired place, you just need to look at it.

Underwater rocks

To build a cardboard box with lenses is not easy, but very simple. But still, there are subtleties. The bottom of the body should be shorter than its upper plate, so that there is room for the viewer's nose. For the same purpose, oblique sections on the lens brackets serve.

It is strongly recommended that the inner surface of the case be painted black to avoid unrealistic screen reflections. Outside, we left the glasses in their original cardboard form: we like their brutal artisanal appearance.

In the front of the case, the upper and lower plates protrude slightly beyond the side walls. This is done so that the smartphone rests on the resulting protrusions. Hooks are provided on the plates: rubber bands fixing the telephone are put on them. Reliable mounting of the device is very important, since most VR applications require active head rotation.

The buttons on the side faces of the smartphone, being sandwiched between the panels of the case of VR glasses, can give a surprise. So that they are not pressed spontaneously, it is worthwhile to provide for them cutouts or, conversely, back-ups.

The inner surface of the case of glasses should be painted black. A little more than half the screen enters the field of view of each eye. It creates the feeling of watching in a movie theater when, in addition to the screen, side walls, floor and ceiling are visible. Black paint avoids unnecessary reflections and glare, helping to focus on the screen.

And the last tip: when inviting someone to test your new VR glasses, prepare a second smartphone or camera in advance. Most likely, you will want to shoot a tester on video. The deliberately “cardboard” design of VR glasses is misleading: a home-made device creates an unexpectedly strong effect of immersion in the virtual world, causing a storm of emotions among the audience.

The article “Cardboard Reality” was published in the magazine “Popular Mechanics” (No. 3, March 2015).

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