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Tag Archives: virtual reality

  • Vintage Virtual Reality and Science Fiction

    Before virtual reality (as we currently know it) became an accessible concept, it was better known as a science fiction terminology in the early to mid-1980s. Video games, simulation, and other computer-generated scenario were the realms of VR. An artificial intelligence usually dictated the rules of virtual reality, with the human merely being a player or guest in its realm.

    "Disembodied consciousness"

    One such award-winning - nay, triple-award-winning work of science fiction was the 1984 novel  Neuromancer, by William Gibson. Neuromancer was a story within the cyberpunk genre, the first in the Sprawl trilogy, and winner of the Philip K. Dick Award, the Hugo Award, and the Nebula Award. It revolves around a down-and-out computer hacker in dystopian Japan, and the Matrix, which is described as "a disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination".

    "Virtuality"

    Theodor Nelson wrote "Interactive Systems and the Design of Virtuality" in 1980, whose terminology was believed to have inspired the term and scientific applications of "Virtual Reality", a guide written a decade later by Howard Rheingold. However, the term virtual reality is more popularly attributed to computer genius Jaron Lanier. Virtual reality had its use in computer science back then, but it was a term not tossed around casually as it is today.

    The somewhat muddled usage of the term decades ago has since been more or less agreed on as being a secondary reality. However, today's practical applications, including for business, games, medicine, the arts, and politics, has made the term and all its applications accessible - even for first-time users. VR has become more interactive than ever, but more importantly, it's become even more relatable.

  • Fumbling Towards Victory: Virtual Reality's Long and Winding Journey

     

    Image courtesy of Wikipedia Image courtesy of Wikipedia

    The story of VR has been a roller coaster ride. Time and again, it was launched for mainstream consumption amid much frenzy - only for it to fall flat on its virtual face. It got to the point that the term virtual reality became a mere buzz word. Sure, it had its moments, but VR just never seemed to live up to the grand possibilities.

    Here, we examine VR’s journey and how it is finally the success it is today despite all the failures of decades past.

    The Ghosts of Virtual Past: Struggling with Missteps, Price Tags, and Nausea

    The Sensorama. Power Glove. Nintendo (with their Virtual Boy). Virtuality. These are but some (but by no means the only ones) who rode the VR hysteria only to end up… meh. They all seemed nice. Why did they fail then?

    Consider the technological limitations of years gone by and compare that to what we have now. You can talk about potential all you want, but if you don’t have the hardware to back it up, it simply won’t fly. It might be a cop-out and simplistic to pin VR’s past failures on crappy hardware but we’ll do just that.  The technology was downright mediocre.

    Another point we need to consider is the lofty price tag. Was it really worth paying the price if, after mere minutes of usage it made you feel… we’ll get to that on our last point.

    The last point is the nagging issue of nausea. Just one look at all those grainy graphics and you’ll see what we mean. Time and again, the one constant complaint about VR was that it left users feeling sick—and that, perhaps, was what doomed incarnation after incarnation of VR.

    The Saints of Virtual Future: A Matter of Time, Hardware, and Nostalgia

    VR’s nice but how will it succeed this time around?

    For one, we now have the hardware to support a more realistic type of virtuality. Just think about the rate at which technology upgrades. Today, you can buy a mega computer or smartphone. By next week, it’s practically made obsolete by the release of a more sophisticated, slicked-up gadget. The difference with VR is that we are standing at the threshold of all its possibilities with all the available (and affordable!) hardware today. It would be silly not to take advantage of all the potential that VR has.

    Sometimes, it’s also a matter of timing. Perhaps VR just kept getting pushed towards the masses too soon. We’ve discussed in a previous blog post (*feel free to browse through our archive) how pop culture referenced the way VR would shape today’s world. The world wasn’t ready then, but it is now.

    Good things come to those who wait, but it’s also good to take advantage of technological leaps and bounds. VR is no longer just for the youth whose gadgets are practically part of their daily lives. Folks from the 90’s who were let down by the ghosts of virtual past are now finding redemption and utmost satisfaction courtesy of the saints of virtual future.

    So stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Or rather, don’t stop us because we’re telling you right now: Virtual Reality will succeed—and is already succeeding—this time around.
    Love it or not, you can’t deny its formidable presence (*refer to our last 2 blog posts) in today’s world. And with just the right software applications, even the most skeptical of people won’t be able to deny just how far VR has come since its inception all those decades ago.

  • From Virtual to Reality: The Rise of 3D

    Pacman 3D

    Phones. Computers. Tablets.

    Many fail to realize all the years of innovation and ingenuity that go into everyday items. For instance, have you ever wondered how that little cardboard gizmo you’re holding in your hands came about?

    It has been said that those who know the past have the power to shape the future. By having a thorough grasp of the evolution of things, one gains enough insight to steer ahead. So to fully understand the Virtual Reality that we enjoy today, we need to see its roots. Let’s travel back through time and take look at the many permutations of VR devices through the years.

    VR history 101 is now in session.

    Insurgence and Resurgence

    One common misconception about VR is that it is “new”. While it does seem like a contemporary concept—thanks to innovators over the years—this isn’t exactly the case. In fact, it's been around for decades. Even though the term Virtual Reality was coined back in the 1980’s (By Jaron Lanier) the concept in itself was already around as early as the 1950’s.

    It was, however, unfortunate that much of its potential  when it was first introduced went largely unrealized—in large part due to the lack of technological advancements available. The oftentimes mediocre graphics were too much for users to ignore and to fully buy into a supposed “fully immersive” experience. Like many things in life, it’s all a matter of opportunity and timing. And the timing was just not right so much of the hoopla surrounding virtual reality died down, leaving it relatively out of mainstream culture.

    Thanks to better graphics technology, VR steadily built up steam until it gained enough of momentum akin to a runaway freight train the past few years.

    Evolution and Revolution

    Sensorama (1950s)
    Revolutionary cinematographer Morton Heilig pioneered this console that featured moving chairs, odor emitters, and stereo speakers as well as stereoscopic displays to upgrade the usual viewing experience. It was thus touted the “Cinema of the Future”.

    Headsight (1961)
    Headsight was a helmet that had a video screen and a tracking system and was used by engineers for remote operations in dangerous locations. It operated via a closed camera circuit system.

    Ultimate Display (1965)
    With the Ultimate Display, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland was able to place users in a virtual world. Being that hardware didn’t come in small packages as it does today, the computer connected to the HMD (head-mounted display) looked more like a contraption straight out of a sci-fi flick.

    Tron (1982)
    1982 was the year VR went to Hollywood. Though it didn’t make VR available to the public, it gave viewers a good view of things to come.

    Virtuality Group (1991)
    Virtuality Group brought virtual reality to a new generation in the form of special arcade machines. It took VR to a whole new level with upgraded graphics and 3D versions of classic games such as Pac-Man.

    Sega VR (1993)
    Major video game console maker Sega unveiled its VR wrap-around glasses at the Consumer Electronics Show. Strangely enough, it never hit the shelves. In a few years, however, Nintendo’s Virtual Boy did break through to the market but eventually crashed and burned due to lackluster reception.

    Project Morpheus (2014)
    With better graphics available, virtual reality received a new lease on life. Even the giants at Sony hopped on the VR bandwagon with their own VR headset for their PlayStation gaming console.

    Google Cardboard (2014)
    With other VR devices in the market wearing price tags that are a little too out of reach, the wonderful folks at Google took a radically simplistic approach and brought VR technology to the masses.

    Being one of the more accessible (and very much affordable) VR gadgets in the market, we can see why Google Cardboard has risen to prominence to become one of the top figures in the Virtual Reality game. And with I Am Cardboard, you need not worry about getting left behind in the VR revolution. By simply donning a visor, you can plunge deep and realize practically any alternative reality.

  • Let There Be Google Cardboard… for iOS Devices

    IPhone users rejoice! With the release of the V2 cardboard kit, accessible virtual reality is now available for iOS users. These kits still stay true to the principles of simplicity and affordability.

    The need to evolve

    Google's foray into the virtual reality game unlocked a host of VR devices - at least, for Android smartphone users.  After Google revealed the first kit at the I/O conference in 2014, a host of manufacturers (such as I AM Cardboard) began making their own versions of the Google Cardboard kit. I AM Cardboard took things a notch higher by creating innovative products that departed from the basic cardboard kit design.

    I AM Cardboard's first kit. I AM Cardboard's first kit. Works with Android only.

    Everything was awesome - at least, for Android users. But how about iPhone users? It was time to let them in on the fun. It was time for the Google Cardboard kit to evolve once again.

    iPhones and the V2 Cardboard kit

    The new V2 Cardboard kits come with a conductive strip that replaces the magnet clickers that came with the earlier cardboard models. That, and the addition of a new SDK and Cardboard app means you can now experience accessible virtual reality on your iPhone.

    Our V2 kits come with an iPhone-compatible conductive strip. Our V2 kits come with an iPhone-compatible conductive strip.

    Taking on a bigger-is-better approach, these newer kits can also fit larger phones - up to iPhone 6 Plus-sized units. To top it all off, it’s even easier to use. And with the availability of popular VR apps such as VR One Cinema, Insurgent, Sisters, and Insidious, you can break reality using your iPhone.

    I AM Cardboard's V2 kit - wider compatibility, wider fun! I AM Cardboard's V2 kit - wider compatibility, wider fun!

    The V2 kit is simple, affordable, nifty, and easy to use- just like the first kits - but with wider compatibility. With these new and improved cardboard kits, users can now spend hours lost in virtual reality fun, whether they have an iPhone 6 or a Nexus 6.

  • Memorable VR-Based Marketing Campaigns

    Virtual reality brings unique experiences for viewers, but it also provides advertisers with a tool that works outside conventional media. And working outside the conventional is what makes VR a potent tool for marketing. With the advent of Google Cardboard, VR-based marketing campaigns became more accessible for both brands and consumers.

    With that in mind, here are some of the most noteworthy marketing campaigns that made good use of Google Cardboard.

    Volvo Reality Test Drive

    Clever and true to the medium, the Volvo virtual reality app lets users take an XC90 out for a virtual spin. Though there is, of course, no substitute for driving the real thing, the campaign provided a memorable way for consumers to experience the brand.

    Coca-Cola World Cup

    Only football can command such a frenzied devotion among global sports fans. And every four years, that frenzy reaches a fever pitch because of the World Cup. Coca-Cola tapped into the FIFA festivities last year to bring the stadium atmosphere right in front of the retinas of football fans around the world.

    River Island Virtual Fashion

    It’s hard to get a front row seat to watch the glitz and glamour of a fashion show. River Island brought their clothing line closer to their clientele this year by partnering up with Google Cardboard and putting on a full 360-degree virtual fashion show.

    Mattel View-Master

    The View-Master is one of the most iconic toys from decades past. Google teamed-up with Mattel to bring forth a modern version of this childhood classic. The new View-Master lets users experience undersea and planetary tours, among many other immersive adventures.

    Virtual reality is a veritable playground for brands and marketers. It's an excellent medium for advertisers to showcase products and services in a unique and compelling way. With I AM Cardboard’s custom-printed kit service, getting branded kits for VR-based campaigns is easier than ever. Why wait on the sidelines when you can be among the firsts to corner the market?

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