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Using your Smartphone for VR

Updated on August 25, 2016

You can use your smartphone for VR?

Technology has been advancing year after year. Google has made a push to get the VR experience into more users hands by creating the Cardboard VR (virtual reality) goggles. This gives you a chance to use your smartphone as VR goggles. Since I work in doing 3D renderings for architecture this made me even more curious about this technology. This gives me a chance to create a virtual rendering of the space I worked on in 3D to actually see how it could look in real life. In this article I just want to share what I have come across since there isn't really any instructions on how to expand on getting into VR and get your feet wet. I hope these links and information are helpful to you. And encourage you to try this technology out.

Times you might have come across VR.

VR has been around for a long time. Some of you might remember the movie The Lawn Mower Man about virtual reality. That movie to me seemed so far away at the time it came out for us to experience that type of virtual reality. But now we are slowly advancing there. They now have rides that use VR to give you a different experience when going on the ride. Again it's been around for a some time too. But what has changed is the cost. You can get a set of goggles for around $15 to $35 dollars. To me that's really not so bad if your interested in a new toy to play with. I love the fact that we are in a time that our smartphone is good enough to actually track your head movements. Yes they have the Oculus if your looking to spend a little more to have a better experience. But for me this isn't really the focus. I talking more towards to ones who want to get their feet wet but don't know where to start. And just want to spend as little as possible to enjoy trying out VR.

Google Cardboard App

The first app I installed on my phone was the Google Cardboard App. It is really a good introduction into using your new goggles and getting use to VR. I found that it is a playful set up environment for you to explore with the demos. There is a tutorial icon in there to help you test your button and how to navigate out of each icon you click on. The next icon in goggle app is the Earth that allows you to fly around in a Google earth type environment. Next to the earth icon is the tour guide icon that takes you on kinda of a tour using 360 imagery to view a historic place. Almost allowing you to experience being there. I did find some of the quality was lacking on a few spots but still a cool way to view a place you have never been before. Another icon in the Google app to choose from was one called Exhibit. This one is looking at a 3D model in 3D space using your goggles to kinda navigate. The next icon in the app is the video one. This allows you to view your own videos in a virtual environment. Kinda going back to that lawn mower man feeling of watching videos.

Google Cardboard App

Other apps

The Google cardboard app isn't the only app out there. You can do a search in your apps download and find other games. I haven't had a chance to go through and find the best ones just yet. And I'm sure the list of apps will only grow from here on out. The latest one I tried out on my phone was an app called Vrse. It had lots of videos that you can download and are made for the 360 experience with high quality. I found a mental hospital video on the Vrse website called Catatonic. I can see a new way of watching scary movies! This one is not for kids at all. If you love haunted houses then you will enjoy this video. After you watch Catatonic you might wanna put on some happier video from being traumatized from what you just watched. So I recommend checking out Invasion! next. It's a happy Pixar like movie that is really well done.

(I put the YouTube links below for you to check out!)


Invasion! Sneak Peek 360

It's not for everyone.

There will be a few people out there who probably won't be able to use the VR goggles at long periods of time. Some people will get motion sick from not being able to process what they are seeing. And some people might experience headaches. For me it took a little getting use to at first. But after a while I was sucked into everything I was watcing.

YouTube VR Experience

I'm sure some of you have noticed that Youtube has now added a 360 channel geared specifically towards VR videos. I even have 2 YouTube video links to some videos above that use this channel. A pair of Google cardboard goggles button on the bottom of the video screen allow you to view the video using the goggles. It will split the screen for headset viewing. Given that youtube has a channel I don't see this technology going away anytime soon. I had come across videos of sky diving to deep sea diving. The list goes on and on for what you can view now and in the future down the road.

What is your interest level on VR?

How would you rate your interest in VR.

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The Goggles I went with.

I ended up going with Kollea 3D VR glasses. If you go online it can get overwhelming on how many different types of VR goggles are out there. I did find that Wal-Mart now carries VR goggles. I found this pretty interesting. This means we are going to see more and more people having access to it with big companies like Wal-Mart selling them now. But for me the Kollea works just fine for me at the moment. I added an Amazon link here to the side. You can read the reviews on it.


I know I only touched the surface of what's to come. But I think this going to be an interesting ride with the VR technology and I'm looking forward to it. If you think how video games started out with the game pong and what we have now for game systems. So give it time and we will see this start to grow into something more than we ever expected it to be. Give VR a try and let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you find some cool apps please feel free to share them in the comments also.


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