Here’s the problem with Virtual Reality (well, there are actually several problems with virtual reality, but here’s the biggest one): it doesn’t actually exist (at least, not at the consumer level). Sure, Facebook recently invested a few billion in Oculus VR, and Sony has announced plans to get into the Virtual Reality game as well. But none of the upcoming Virtual Reality projects have firm dates for when they’ll be available to the general public, and when they do hit store shelves, they’re going to be pricey.
DodoCase, a San Francisco company that until now has been known mostly for making iPad cases (very stylish iPad cases, that is; here’s a moleskin one that will set you back $90), can get you into your own Virtual Reality headset for $25 with some cardboard, tape, and a popsicle stick (and your own smartphone, which undoubtedly cost more than $25, but let’s not split hairs).
Now, some of you may be thinking, “Didn’t Google get in on the whole cardboard smartphone Virtual Reality conversion thing months ago?” And you would be right: Google Cardboard came out in June of this year, promising the same thing that the DodoCase VR is promising.
The difference between Google Cardboard and the DodoCase VR kit is that with the DodoCase, you can get everything you need, [mostly] pre-assembled, with one swipe of your credit card. As opposed to Google Cardboard, which tech writer Mike Chua says required multiple trips to the hardware store and advanced degrees in engineering to make.
In the video below, Slate tech writer Will Oremus gives the DodoCase VR kit a spin.
Looks like Mr. Oremus is impressed, but the DodoCase VR kit does have its limits. For starters, you won’t look nearly as cool with a cardboard box held up to your head as you would with the sleek getup offered by Oculus Rift.
Secondly, as Will Oremus puts it, the VR games that are currently available for smartphones aren’t exactly groundbreaking.
The apps, to be clear, are not exactly Bioshock Infinite. They’re more like demos than full-featured games… The simplicity of the games available for Cardboard — and even for Oculus Rift, for that matter — makes it clear that virtual reality is still not quite ready to go mainstream.
But still, we all have to start somewhere and $25 for some cardboard and popsicle sticks is as good a starting point as any.
The DodoCase VR cardboard conversion kit is available for iPhone and Android devices and can be purchased here.