How to turn any smartphone on the planet into a virtual reality headset

Google Cardboard

When developers lined up for their free smartwatches following Google’s keynote on Wednesday, another intriguing creation made its way into the goody bag, one that appeared to be slightly more affordable than the Android Wear devices. Google’s Cardboard project lets anyone transform their Android smartphones into a basic virtual reality headset using homemade materials, most notably a piece of cardboard.

If you weren’t in attendance at Google I/O, you’ll be left to you own devices if you want your own Cardboard enclosure, but TechCrunch dug up a video from 2009 which should simplify the process for those in need of a visual aid. Filmed by the apparently prescient U.K. journalist Andy Lim, the following video gives you a quick rundown of how to build a pair of cardboard VR goggles.

Google also has its own instructions on the developers’ landing page for Cardboard, along with a list of materials you’ll need to build an optimal headset. Alongside the unveiling of Cardboard, Google has released a VR Toolkit for interested developers who want to build their own applications to work with the homemade headsets. As long as your Android phone runs Jelly Bean or above, the software should work. Here’s a full list of phones that Google has tested and are confirmed to be compatible:

  • Fully compatible:
    • Google Nexus 4 and 5
    • Motorola Moto X
    • Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5
    • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Partially compatible:
    • HTC One
    • Motorola Moto G
    • Samsung Galaxy S3
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