Got an old cardboard box? Make your own VR goggles for under $10

youtube 360 heatmaps google cardboard
Google Cardboard

You know Google Cardboard? The super cheap virtual reality headset made from a sheet of foldable cardboard and a pair of lenses? Ever since it was first announced back in 2014, dozens of companies have developed their own take on the idea, and nowadays you can get your hands on a fully functional cardboard VR headset for about 20 bucks — sometimes even less.

That’s pretty damn cheap by most people’s standards, but what you might not realize is that you can build a DIY  version for even cheaper. Google open-sourced the design specifications for the headset shortly after they announced it, so you can easily build your own with a few basic hand tools, a spare sheet of cardboard, and some cheap lenses from Amazon.


You can access all of Google’s technical specifications and design schematics here — but truth be told, Google’s directions are so comprehensive that they’re almost confusing. So, in an effort to keep things simple and easy-to-follow, Instrucables user mnatanagara put together a much more approachable build guide. We like these plans better than Google’s, since they doesn’t require you to make a bunch of measurements and draw out all the parts. Instead, you just print a template on regular printer paper, glue it to your cardboard, cut everything, and fold it together. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started:


  • Utility knife/razor
  • Scissors
  • Metal edged ruler
  • A large, solid cutting surface


  • Printed templates (download them here)
  • Glue (both stick-style and Elmers)
  • A 2’x3′ sheet of corrugated cardboard.
    • Pro Tip: you might want some extra for your first build, just in case you make a mistake. Also, thinner shoebox-like cardboard is best, but you can make do with the thicker “moving box” variety if that’s all you’ve got. Just don’t expect all the pieces to fold nicely if you use the thicker stuff.
  • A pair of 45mm focal length biconvex plastic lenses, either 25mm in diameter (GC 1.0) or 37mm (GC 2.0)
  • velcro patches (preferably somewhat weak)
  • Copper foil tape
  • A small piece of dense foam (roughly 0.25″ x 0.25″ x 1.0″)
  • velcro patches (The cheaper the better. Expensive stuff is too grippy, and you only need a weak hold)

Once you’ve got everything together, you can find the full build instructions here. Happy building!

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.