A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Funtastic Inventions (article here), and how wonderful it would be if they really turned out to be true. Today I saw the announcement that Google and Mattel will partner to bring the new View Master to kids 7 years and older. The way it works is that you put the View Master app on your smartphone, then put the smartphone in the View Master and get started. A nice way to go on a fieldtrip, like this video example for San Francisco’s Golden Bridge shows us.
It uses the Google Cardboard technology, that Google has developed last year. It seems that with this partnering, they have found a way to make virtual reality at an affordable price. A bit like Oculus Rift, but then for younger audiences. Oculus Rift is a head mounted device that used hearing and seeing to make it feel like you are in another reality. It was developed using a Kickstarter campaign, was later bought by Facebook and is expected to be available in 2015.
All of this made me think of the Holo Deck that was often used in Star Trek Next Generation. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany have already been able to use a wireless Oculus Rift headset and a room full of cameras to partially simulate travelling to mysterious, virtual worlds. We are still some ways off from making an all encompassing experience yet of course, but all these developments are sure going in the right direction!