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  • Lonely or Bored on V-Day? VR Can Help!

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    Virtual (and immersive) reality has already helped the dating and sex lives of so many people to become so much more interesting, that Valentine's Day applications seem par for the course. If you don't have a date, are in a long-distance relationship, or simply want to try something new this approaching day of hearts, here are a few virtual practices we think you'd like to give a go (and maybe make a tradition of).

    Cyborg Dating

    Photo via Augmented Reality Trends Photo via Augmented Reality Trends

    What you'll need:  a partner, a Google Cardboard headset, a smartphone, the Cyborg Dating app, and a healthy dose of fun and trust

    Contrary to its name, no, you won't be dating a cyborg but a real person, like a special friend or someone you're willing to go traipsing around town with. This augmented reality experience is designed to have couples bond while on a date in the real world - except one of them is experiencing it virtually (in a forest) while the other "guides" both of them in public spaces. It's a thrilling trust activity that requires hand-holding and close contact to avoid real-life obstacles like crowds, traffic, etc.  The couple can gauge how their date is going via their smartphone, and can also switch to night-mode if they want a more romantic ambience.

    Coffee x Augmented Reality

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    What you'll need: a smartphone, the Starbucks Cup Magic app, a special Starbucks season cup, and coffee (partner optional)

    Don't discard that heart-adorned Starbucks cup that comes with your mocha frap! It serves an entertaining purpose: line the heart up with your phone's field of vision, and you will see hearts and petals flying out of it. You can also send a video of this hearty phenomenon as an e-card through email or social media sites.

    V-Day VR Card From a Secret Admirer

    Image courtesy of VRGifts Image courtesy of VRGifts

    What you'll need: a Google Cardboard headset, the VRGifts Valentine Card app, someone you admire to send the card to

    Greeting cards are here to stay no matter what form they come in. Valentine VRGifts wants you to act on your secret admirer fantasies by sending that special someone a virtual reality greeting card - but with a twist. You and the person receiving it have to play a couple of mini-games using the smartphone and Cardboard viewer so that they can find out who is sending them a Valentine (and has a secret crush on them all this time!). Romantic? Yes. Creepy? Maybe. Fun? Oh, heck yeah.

  • Oh, the Possibilities! Five Awesome Daydream View Apps

    Now that Daydream View is no longer a dream, it's time to put it through its paces as far as apps are concerned. Below is a mix of reliable apps and some nifty new ones, resulting in a list that's high on adventure and information.

    1.Google Street View

    Of course, of course, of course - Street View is a dependable Google creation, after all. With Daydream View, you can up the ante on the virtual exploration of just about any place you want. From searching for a particular place like a restaurant or park, to visiting destinations you can only read or dream about, Google Street View's 360-degree functionality can be pretty mind-blowing with Daydream.

    2. Google Arts & Culture VR

    Virtual reality and art seem to be a match made in heaven. If you don't have the time, resource, or inclination to gallery-hop, let the combined genius of Google Arts & Culture VR and the Daydream View guide you through masterpieces of fine art. Audio guides are also available to allow you to really get into an artful immersion.

    3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Where to find them? Why, on Google Daydream View, of course! The app is not a game by a long shot, but there are some sweet control gestures you can use with your Daydream View for this tie-in app with the upcoming movie.

    4. Polyrunner VR

    Run as fast as you can without getting winded...sort of. Polyrunner VR is one of those endless running games that you will get hooked on. Daydream View's controller will make it feel more intuitive that you...might...just...catch yourself...catching...your breath!

    5. The Rose and I

    A Sundance FIlm Festival hit, Rose is an interactive animated experience that allows viewers to feel loneliness, love, loss, and friendship. And what is virtual reality without the feels?

     

     

  • An Early Christmas Wish: Virtual Twists to 5 Classic Board Games

    September is here, and before we know it, it's time to enumerate all the things we'd want to receive for the holidays. On that note, we decided to come up with an early Christmas wish list simply because we believe the earlier you make a wish, the earlier it comes true! So here come 5 classic board games we hope and pray will very soon get virtual reality upgrades.

    1. Monopoly
    The app Monopoly Millionaire proved that there’s still life in this old game, so why not push it a little bit further with a full-on immersive one?

    We wish for a VR version of Monopoly because…
    Dominating the real estate business is nice - but doing in in 3D is three times the fun!

    2. Cluedo
    There really is no better way to get into character and crack a classic case of “whodunit” than in 3D. Cluedo has mystery, intrigue, and (we hope soon) a 3D twist. The fact that there was even a TV show based on it should point to its potential as a virtual reality game.

    We wish for a VR version of Cluedo because…
    It would be a treat to see characters like Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Reverend Green, Colonel Mustard, and Mrs. White all come to (virtual) life.

    3. Battleship
    Go head-to-head with a friend and sink each other’s naval fleet. Deploy your battleship, aircraft carrier, destroyer, submarine, and patrol boat. This we’d love to play in 3D.

    We wish for a VR version of Battleship because…
    Seeing your opponent’s ships blow up and sink to the ocean’s depths is much more fun.

    4. Chess

    Holochess on Star Wars...is it possible? Holochess on Star Wars...is it possible?

    Chess is one of the oldest board games there is. No need for explanations here. It teaches you to be critical and to plan your every move. A virtual infusion would certainly add allure and catapult this erstwhile game for four-eyed geeks to higher levels of popularity.

    We wish for a VR version of Chess because…
    Just imagine a towering rook pounding a lowly pawn into oblivion and you’ll see why we want it.

    ***Similarly, a well-loved 80’s game like Archon (also available on iTunes) would also be a welcome sight in VR gaming. It just didn’t make the list because, technically, it’s not really a board game.

    5. Chutes and Ladders
    It’s probably the first board game you learned to play as a child. So why not introduce it to a whole new generation of kids the virtual way?

    We wish for a VR version of Chutes and Ladders because…
    While the fact that it’s a game based on sheer luck, the prospect of a 3D slide down the chutes or climb up the ladders should no doubt make it a fun virtual experience.

    A good twist of the virtual flavor may just be exactly what these well-loved board games need to add an extra shot of freshness and entertainment. It’d surely take the “bored” out of old board games!

  • First Things First: 10 Must-Have Apps for Google Cardboard Newbies

    They say that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. With these 10 apps, new I Am Cardboard users can start a wonderful journey into the VR realm and enjoy hours of fun in 3D.

    1. Cardboard (Google Inc.)

    Cardboard gets you off on the right foot as you delve into the 3D world. Simply download it and you’re all set for hours of fun—virtual style.

    2.  Lamper (Archiact Interactive Ltd.)

    Let us tell you about the birds, the bees, and the app called Lamper; it’s fun! You make like a bee and buzz around avoiding obstacles along the way.

    3. Zombie Warfare (Fibrum)

    It’s the zombie apocalypse and, of course, it’s up to you to save humanity. Load up and get your game face on as you shoot your way through.

    4. Sisters (Otherworld Interactive)

    Looking for a spine-tingling VR experience? Sisters is one creepy game that’s sure to get your spook on. You’ll feel like you entered the Twilight Zone once you strap on your VR headset. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

    5. Dive Deep (Durovis)

    No need to hold your breath for this deep sea dive. Although it doesn’t offer much in terms of graphics, Dive Deep still makes for a great introduction to the wonderful world of virtual reality.

    6. Orbulus (VR Craftworks Limited)

    Who needs visas, passports, and plane tickets? All it takes is a VR cardboard headset and you’re off to see the world and beyond.

    7. Cosmic Roller Coaster (Raiz)

    With the number of roller coaster apps available, it’s imperative that new users try at least one. This particular roller coaster ride stands heads and shoulders above the rest as, instead of being a “normal” virtual theme park ride, users get treated to a ride around the vastness of the cosmos.

    8. AAA VR Cinema Cardboard 3D SBS (Candlify Technologies)

    Put some magic in your cinema-viewing experience by downloading this app. This way, you get to enjoy videos in full cinematic virtual reality.

    9. Reality Hacker (VisoR)

    Aptly named, this app lets you hack the real world around you and allows you to see things in a different light.

    10. Paul McCartney (Jaunt)

    There is no reason to settle for an ordinary concert video experience when you can get right in the middle of 360-degree concert. This one features none other than Sir Paul McCartney himself.

    Finding just the right apps can unleash your Google Cardboard’s potential. And as far as getting things started goes, these ten apps are definite must-haves for any new user. With simple tilts of the head, you can enjoy fully immersive reality the virtual way.

  • A Step Outside the Cardboard Box: Five Unique VR Apps

    The virtual reality platform provides fertile ground for innovation. Here we take a close look at five innovative VR apps available for Google Cardboard.

    Reality Hacker (VisoR)

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    It’s a wonderful world, and you can view it in even more wonderful ways - all while 'hacking' reality and changing the world around you. Alternatively, you can see the world in a different light through Augmented VR Experience (Jackaar Software). Let’s just say it’s an app that’s sure to tickle the fancy of any Terminator, Matrix, or Star Wars fan.

    R5’s Heart Made Up On You VR (Jaunt Inc.)

    Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 12.10.17 AM

    Remember that Paul McCartney concert app? Well, Jaunt Inc. takes the concept further with this app. Get a virtual feel of what it’s like to BE a part of the R5 as the band whips out a rendition of their hit single Heart Made Up On You. It’s a small step for virtual reality and a giant leap for music fans everywhere.

    InMind VR (Nival)

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    InMind VR is a game that allows you to delve deep into the human brain. While the concept in itself borrows from sci-fi movies of yore, it still takes on an aura of freshness, given that you're exploring the depths of the human mind via VR.

    inArt – VR/AR Gallery (nesvi)

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    As this is, for now, just a technical demo, we can only surmise (and hope) that it will get better with time. InArt, puts you right in the midst of a virtual art gallery, and allows to soak up the splendor of fine art.

    VR Toilet Simulator (LocoVR)

    Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 12.09.26 AM

    Is it useful? Not at all! Is it novel? Is it fun? You bet it is! VR Toilet Simulator is a breath of fresh air (maybe not in the literal sense) in a market flooded with roller coaster apps, and offers a good laugh for all the times when boredom sets in.

    Though they are indeed fun, VR isn’t all about video games, roller coasters, and haunted houses. You can take a trip outside the virtual box whenever you strap on your cardboard with these five unique apps.

  • Daddy Apps: VR Apps to Introduce to Your Dad

    For every type of dad, there’s an app that’s a perfect match. This Father’s Day, we take a look at the different types of dads and which VR apps you can introduce them to.

    The Geeky Dad (AKA The Pal-Dad)

    He’s the type of dad that everyone wants. He’s got more fandoms and collectible memorabilia than anyone else—and you’re crossing your fingers that you’ll get to own all of them someday.

    The app: VR Cinema for Cardboard (Mobius Networks)

    With this, he can watch all the best movies on a VR display—a fresh way to see old favorites. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a hard day of adulting.

    The Handy Daddy (Sometimes Known as the Mom-Dad or Helicopter Daddy)

    This dad’s a veritable Superman around the house. He’s chore-happy and can fix anything from the family car right down to the plumbing!

    The App: The Mercedes VR for Cardboard (Visualise)

    Mercedes Benz VR

    Reward your Superdad with a virtual ride on one of the most prominent luxury cars in the world. With this app, he can enjoy various Mercedes Benz models such as the new AMG GT.

    The Business Dad

    No-nonsense. He’s all work and no play. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pique his interest and turn him on to VR.

    The app: The VR Banking app (Fiducia IT AG)

    Tickle his fancy with this helpful app where he can handle the family finances whenever, wherever. There's a catch though. It’s in German—which presents a problem for the rest of the non-German speaking populace. Still, it is a great idea that should be picked up by app manufacturers.

    The Artsy Dad

    Life is art and this type of dad is fine-tuned to it.

    The App: VR Gallery (Holumino Ltd.)

    A great app for dads who happen to love the fine art of capturing perfect images. With the VR Gallery, he can upload his own photos (panoramic or spherical) and enjoy them afterwards on his headset in an immersive way.

    Most people find it difficult to turn their parents on to techie stuff. But with these uber cool VR apps, you won’t need to exert that much effort. Get your dad out of the Stone Age and into the Digital one. It’s a great Father’s Day gift for the man of the house.

  • Cardboard Cousins (5 useful cardboard objects of the past)

    It's basic but it doesn't have to be boring. In the not-so-distant past, a piece of cardboard provided us loads of practicality and entertainment.

    With all the possibilities offered by Google Cardboard, we'd be hard-pressed to see the lowly cardboard as only good for carrying pizza (which isn't a shabby purpose at all!). Let's take a closer look at five of the Cardboard kit's ancestors to know how they were made into handy gadgets and other fun stuff.

    1. Pinhole camera

    Basically, cameras are just closed containers with a small hole that create images based on light. No wonder a small cardboard box made for a nifty pinhole camera for many a crafty kid (and adult!). Building this basic camera from scratch and taking pictures with it is an undeniably fulfilling experience.

    Your Cardboard kit is made from the same humble material and offers the same kind of fulfillment, but with more possibilities. For instance, apps like the 3D Camera for Google Cardboard allow you to capture images in 3D with just a simple tap of the screen.

    2. Binoculars and 3D glasses

    I can see you                                                      Photo: Rob via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

    Homemade paper or cardboard binoculars are typical adventure instruments for kids. All it takes are two cardboard toilet paper tubes, string, markers, and other basic tools. And when it comes to a solar eclipse and 3D films, there's nothing like a piece of flat cardboard and some red and blue cellophane to really help you see the majesty! This particular technology, also known as anaglyph glasses, was really the first to utilize 3D imagery.

    Today, your Cardboard kit and your smartphone are the very tools that enable you to experience virtual reality. The lenses are similar to a binoculars', but the possibilities of virtual reality? Well, let's just say they go beyond viewing solar eclipses and seeing images pop.

    3. Music media dock

    Cardboard boxes have long been seen as temporary solutions for storage, insulation, padding, and protection. Even before someone actually designed a cardboard dock for small gadgets like MP3 players and smartphones, the humble cardboard has been used countless times as makeshift holders for cassette tapes, records, CDs, and other musical media.

    Today, your Cardboard kit enables you to try musical apps like the Paul McCartney and Jack White virtual reality videos, and fully enjoy their music as you would in a concert. We're looking forward to more music-based Cardboard apps very soon!

    4. File box

    At some point in our lives, we've used a cardboard box to store our files. It's a reliable catchall for school papers, instruction manuals, receipts, and other important papers we need to keep track of. Now, with apps like Google Street View, you no longer need bulky paper maps to make your way around places. We're predicting more storage apps that keep our files safe, provide hands-free instructions, help with research, and basically make life hassle-free will be available in the coming months.

    5. Adventure vessel

    As a throwback to a more imaginative, innovative time for kids, flattened pieces of cardboard boxes were often used as sleds, and bigger ones as cars and trucks. Add a few marker drawings to depict windows, doors, and tires, and you're ready to roll! With your Cardboard kit ready and a few select apps like the Volvo Reality and the Roller Coaster VR, you can let your imagination run full throttle with a virtual reality test drive or a heart-stopping ride.

  • App of the Month: Orbulus

    It provides vivid imagery, it has some ambient noise...and it's free. This month's featured app gives you the chance to travel the world and take in the sights in virtual reality.

    Orbulus offers a user-friendly interface so you can view interesting locations with a simple click. The Photo Spheres in the app show a nice array of immersive scenery. Simply pick one, and you will immediately find yourself on  snow-covered mountain, mingling with tourists on an exciting European holiday, or even drinking in art and culture in a museum. There's even a bit of convincing background noise to add to the experience. Think of it as a vacation-slash-staycation where you get to see the sights, yet stay comfy in your favorite chair minus the astronomical costs of traveling!

    Orbulus

    The Orbulus app is one of the most widely-received among early Cardboard users, and with good reason. It aims to give you a real hands-free VR experience via intuitive controls. VRCraftworks wanted to make an app that is true to the “pick up and go” usability, and Orbulus' immersive Photo Spheres can be controlled simply by looking into your Cardboard gear.

    As with the first wave of apps for Cardboard, the team behind Orbulus acknowledges that there are bugs and improvements to be made. For instance, some smartphones cannot accommodate the large textures used in the app. VRCraftworks encourage users who encounter problems with Orbulus to get in touch with them, and try their lite version on for size.

  • Five Practical (and Fun) Uses for Google Cardboard

    There was a time when many of us thought virtual reality was nearly impossible, and could only be within reach to those who were:

    1. related to George Jetson, or
    2. very, very wealthy.

    Now, thanks to Google Cardboard, VR is just a few folds away. Even what techies refer to as “entry-level VR” definitely has a lot of uses.  With its easy-to-assemble design and its many  compatible apps, you can have both enjoyable and practical activities at your fingertips.  Let's take a look at five matter-of-fact (but fun!) uses for your Cardboard.

    1. Never get lost.

    Having a virtual map like Google Street View means you can practically never get lost in any city or country you'll find yourself in.  Now, thanks to the Cardboard app and your kit, Google Maps for Android allows you to turn a regular street view into a binocular one. At the same time, you can be all touristy, see the sights,  and view new surroundings the same way you would in real space.

    The Orbulus has become a favorite app among early Cardboard users because it allows you to go anywhere and everywhere. This means famous cities, unexplored locations, holidays in different countries, and even leisurely walks on other planets!

    2. Attend important events and get a first-person view of the action.

    Hong Kong Unrest

    Currently in the works is a new multi-platform app that showcases important news events around the world like the recent Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstration. With it, you can “witness” the event and be part of the audience to really get a feel of what the gatherings were all about. Immersive.ly has produced documentaries in VR and 360-degree videos so users can emotionally connect to the event. This kind of app paves the way for other essential documentaries by journalism outfits to be featured and experienced by anybody and everybody.

    3. Use both hands for DIY projects and other practical stuff.

    A peripheral created specifically for use with VR kits aims to complete the virtual reality experience – while being totally hands-free. This will be extra useful if you need a step-by-step guide on a DIY project or are at the receiving end of fitness instructions. One of I AM Cardboard's products is the EVA, which is a sturdier and more durable version of the Cardboard kits. Best of all, it features a head strap! This handy little accessory makes hands-free VR a lot more doable and useful.

    4. Get entertained.

    Lamper VR

    From games to virtual reality theater, your Google Cardboard will prove to be a handy and entertaining experience for you. Lamper is one such app where you can experience how it is to be a small bug in a huge, threatening world. Go through obstacles and get a real consciousness for what the challenges the games pose. You'll feel like a real winner in the end!

    5. Go see a movie.

    VR Cinema for Cardboard allows you to view your favorite MP4 files into a split-screen versions for a truly immersive cinematic experience. Any movie can become a 3D virtual reality experience with this app and your I AM Cardboard kit. Many other cinematic VR projects are currently being developed or fine-tuned for use with your Cardboard gear. We'll be sure to spread the word as soon as we get wind that they're ready and available for you!

  • I AM Cardboard's Top Five Favorite Apps

    Now that you've got your VR kit set up and ready to use, it's time to get some apps for your smartphone. With a Cardboard and the right kind of apps, you can be virtually anyone and be anywhere you want to be! Let's take a look at some of the most awesome apps available for Cardboard, and why they've become favorites with the I AM Cardboard team.

    1. Stereogram for Cardboard 2.0

    History buffs, this is the app you've been waiting for. Imagine a truckload of vivid 3D images from history before your eyes! The Stereogram for Cardboard allows you to control the app using just your voice. Search over 40,000 historical stereographs, curate a list of your favorite images, and just generally feel like you've made a trip to the Library of Congress or The Smithsonian Institution.

    Stereogram app

    The Stereogram for Cardboard app works best with 1080p smartphones.

    2. VR Roller Coaster

    You can experience the thrill of a roller coaster ride in the comfort of your armchair with this app. It's a hands-free thrilling virtual trip that lets you go through the loops, dips, and dives of a roller coaster – complete with ambient sounds of birds, a lively amusement park crowd, and the screams of other passengers!

    The VR Roller Coaster app works with any mobile stereoscopic headset with a built in accelerometer. Your Cardboard kit powers the app's stereoscopic rendering and head tracking for mobile VR.

    3. Paul McCartney

    If you aren't one of the clueless who actually believed Kanye West made Paul McCartney famous, then this app's for you. True fans of the Beatles legend will get a chance to view Sir Paul in concert via a cinematic VR experience. This app provides the sensation of being right next to the stage, witnessing an awe-inspiring performance of Live and Let Die in 360 degrees. You can also view minute details such as the audience, ceiling, and even the cameraman!

    Paul McCartney app

    The Paul McCartney app is currently going through some bug fixes. It works best with recent 5-6 inch model smartphone models for your Cardboard kit.

    4. Tokyo VR Cardboard

    Ever wanted to visit Tokyo but couldn't afford it yet? The Tokyo VR Cardboard app is the next best thing to booking a flight and a tour package. It offers a visit to 26 different locations in Tokyo, all with a 360 degree view. It's truly an immersive experience that is compatible with and fully optimized for your I AM Cardboard kit.

    5. Cardboard VR 3D Environment

    If you're looking to test your I AM Cardboard setup for the first time, then we highly recommend the Cardboard VR 3D app. You can experience a true 3D environment with illuminated trees, rocky landscapes, and other details of bucolic scenery. You simply have to move your head in 360 degrees to enjoy what this app has to offer.

    This app works with smartphones that have a gyroscope feature.

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