Google and Facebook are pushing virtual-reality (VR) technology along two different lines.
Google's Cardboard project mates a free cardboard box with commercially available smartphones to create a VR headset, while Facebook's Rift is a proprietary headset.
Cardboard may have the upper hand because it is less expensive and uses already existing technology, giving VR a chance to expand out of niche uses, says Google's Clay Bavor. Cardboard's basic design includes an app that bisects the phone's display, while the goggle's lenses project a slightly different viewpoint to each of the user's eyes to enable depth perception. To interact with the onscreen content, the user presses a button on top of the goggles, which causes a piece of metalized fabric to swing against the phone's touchscreen and registers the tap of a fingertip.
Cardboard could be improved by Google's Project Tango, an effort to develop three-dimensional sensors and software to help phones and tablets precisely track their position in space. Bavor also says add-on devices are redundant, noting "we prefer to tune the software and components of the smartphone to work well as opposed to adding complexity and things you need to charge."
From Technology Review
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