Google has announced a software development kit for its quirky, virtual reality headset named Cardboard. Made from Cardboard, as the name suggests, it’s a quick and easy way to turn many regular smartphones into VR viewers.
To help developers overcome the technical challenges associated with producing VR apps, the SDK simplifies common tasks, and allows app makers to focus on the more exciting creative aspects of development. The Cardboard SDK supports both Android and Unity, so most developers should be familiar with the system.
Cardboard itself is open source, which lets anyone build their own viewer, based on Google’s specifications. This can create additional issues, mainly based around calibrating the optics, and an update to the SDK due in early 2015 will add tools for defining base and focal lengths.
Google has shipped more than 500,000 Cardboard VR viewers
There are currently 24 dedicated apps for Cardboard, which have been added to a dedicated collection page inside the Google Play Store, including those from musician Paul McCartney, and the team behind the most recent Hobbit movie. Google has also released a Cardboard app, to help users find new content. More than 500,000 Cardboard viewers have been shipped since its introduction at Google I/O earlier this year.
Google has big plans for Cardboard and VR. It teases future projects it’s working on, without going into specifics, and is currently recruiting for at least five VR-related positions at its Mountain View headquarters in California.