Virtual reality (VR) is all the rage as products make their way to the consumer market. But consumers don’t have to spend a lot of money on a headset to get the VR experience. Google Cardboard for Android phones offers a low-tech way that uses traditional, but effective, technology in the form of the stereoscope. The headset itself features cardboard and several prism lenses that magnify the image. With the price ranging from $15 to $25, you’ll discover plenty of great apps, such as the three below, that offer an immersive VR experience.
Best Virtual Reality Apps For Android
1. Google Earth and Street View
Technically, these two items are separate apps, but they’re both geographic locators that work with Google Cardboard. Street View lets you get the ground-level view of any spot a Google Earth car has stopped to photograph.
Image via Flickr by Johan Larsson
Google Earth lets you view the world in a panorama, giving you an almost 360-degree view of places you’re experiencing. Google Cardboard takes advantage of both apps by creating a 3D view. Walk through Paris, Amsterdam, or London without stepping foot in any of the cities.
2. VR Roller Coaster
Ever feel like riding a roller coaster, but you can’t because the weather is too cold and traveling is out of the question? VR Roller Coaster has you covered. Load the app into Google Cardboard and watch in trepidation as the cars start climbing the first hill.
Much work goes into VR Roller Coaster to make your experience feel as realistic as possible. Developers use real-world roller coasters to collect feedback data used to create the experience. This data gets translated into visual imagery that immerses you visually and tricks your brain into thinking you’re on a roller coaster instead of on your sofa.
While downloads of VR Roller Coaster are free, you’ll get only a limited numbers of plays before you must pay to continue using the app. Free VR apps like this one are on the Google Play store, but the apps may not be comprehensive. To find new VR apps that emerge on the market, you can check out app technology news sources such as Android Headlines for details on availability and cost.
3. Google Cardboard Camera
The movie “Brainstorm” dreamed of a virtual reality where people could relive their treasured experiences over and over. The film was somewhat prophetic; 30 years later, we have Google Cardboard Camera. This app lets you take panoramic pictures of your surroundings and capture the ambient sounds.
When you feel like looking back at that particular moment again, and want to relive that experience to its fullest, put on some headphones, slip your phone into Google Cardboard, and start the app.
VR is in its infancy, and it has a long way to go before its full capabilities come to light. Even so, what’s on the market now is turning heads, giving people a glimpse into the future, and changing how people view the world. Being an early adopter of VR technology never hurts, even if you have only Google Cardboard to preview the excitement that is to come.
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