While unveiling the swag it was giving to developers at Google I/O, Sundar Pichai also announced that attendees were getting a piece of cardboard. It turns out that the piece of cardboard is a makeshift virtual reality headset. The company also released a companion app for Cardboard. Essentially, it allows you to slot your device into a cardboard viewer and look at it through a viewfinder and special lenses.

The result is Cardboard, a no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset, and the accompanying open software toolkit that makes writing VR software as simple as building a web or mobile app.

Google hopes that this simple and affordable concept will encourage developers to attempt at writing VR software and eventually making it as simple as building a web app or mobile app.

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend I/O and receive your own piece of cardboard to build a VR headset with, Google’s Cardboard website tells you how to build one with your cardboard. Heres’ the full list of things you can do with a piece of cardboard paired with Google’s new Cardboard app, available now on the Play Store.

  • Earth: Fly where your fancy takes you on Google Earth.
  • Tour Guide: Visit Versailles with a local guide.
  • YouTube: Watch popular YouTube videos on a massive screen.
  • Exhibit: Examine cultural artifacts from every angle.
  • Photo Sphere: Look around the photo spheres you’ve captured.
  • Street Vue: Drive through Paris on a summer day.
  • Windy Day: Follow the story (and the hat) in this interactive animated short from Spotlight Stories.

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About the Author

Chance Miller

Email: Chance@9to5mac.com

Chance currently writes for both 9to5Google and 9to5Mac, in addition to 9to5Toys.