Google’s DIY Cardboard project turns your Android smartphone into a VR Headset

Cats have been turning cardboard boxes into sources of amusement for centuries. Now Google is following their lead with Cardboard, a DIY project that teaches you how to build a virtual reality headset with only an app, an Android smartphone, and a cardboard box. Oculus Rift, eat your heart out (or not).

Before you can create your own VR headset, you’ll need to go buy all the items on Google’s shopping list:

  • Corrugated cardboard sheet, preferably in E Flute thickness. The smallest your box can be is 8.75 x 22 x 0.06 inches. Google suggests looking here and here.
  • Lenses with a 40mm focal distance will work, but Biconvex lenses have the least distortion. Google recommends the Durovis OpenDive Lens Kit available here and here.
  • Two magnets: One neodymium ring magnet this or this – and one ceramic disk magnet – like this or this. The magnets must be 0.75 inches in diameter and 0.12in thick.
  • Two strips of velcro, measuring 0.75 x 1.25 inches.
  • Rubber band to stop the phone from slipping. The band should be 3.2 inches long.
  • The NFC tag is optional and you’ll need to program it with the URL cardboard://v1.0.0

You’ll also need a ruler, glue, and scissors, an X-acto knife, or laser cutter to complete the project. Once you’ve complied all the materials, Google will explain how to make the perfect VR headset. As soon as you’ve finished, you should have a fully functional VR headset.

According to the Google Play Store app posting, the Cardboard app works with the following applications:

  • 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.

Google hopes that its Cardboard project will show people just how easy it is to make a basic VR headset and encourage more developers to work on new VR experiences for everyone.

Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.
Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Smart Home

Huawei could soon take on Google and Amazon with a new digital assistant

According to a report from CNBC, Huawei is working on a new digital assistant that could try to take on the likes of Google and Amazon's Alexa. Huawei already has a digital assistant in China, but the new one will be aimed at markets…
Mobile

Leak shows a third, budget Google Pixel 3 with a Snapdragon 670, headphone jack

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 device that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Mobile

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Mobile

Instagram tool accidentally exposes user passwords. Were you affected?

Instagram's Download Your Data tool accidentally exposed the passwords of a small number of users. Here is the explanation on what happened, and how to find out which Instagram accounts were compromised.
Mobile

New iPad Pro’s durability in question after it fails YouTuber’s bend test

The new iPad Pro models failed a bend test that was carried out by popular YouTuber JerryRigEverything. The result raises questions about the durability of the tablets, especially since customers are also reporting bending issues.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to use it.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!