Google Cardboard is being made open source

Joanna Estrada
November 9, 2019

The idea was to pair the economical headsets with high-end phones like Google's Pixel line. Cheap viewers flooded the market and the initial reaction was positive - Google moved more than 15 million units worldwide - but once the novelty of it wore off, interest waned and manufacturers have reacted accordingly. The web giant is discharging a Cardboard open-source venture that will give engineers a chance to make VR experiences and add Cardboard help to their applications.

Four years ago, I had plenty of Cardboard-like headsets lying around in my house. Google is now open-sourcing Cardboard. Now they are taking the same approach on the software side of things.

If you're interested in dabbling with the Cardboard VR project, Google has released developer documentation and uploaded the Cardboard SDK to a GitHub repo.

"Contributions from us" can mean anything from "free Pixels for all developers" to 'kind words and encouragement.' Here, it seems to be somewhere in between, with Google's first pledge being an SDK package for Unity.

Google will make libraries available for developers so they can build apps for the viewer for iOS and Android devices.

Google has stopped developing the Google VR SDK but it's not the end for the program yet. The libraries support virtual reality (VR) features such as motion tracking, lens distortion rendering, and user interaction via the viewer button.

This neglect is acknowledged by Chan in the blog post, but the company wants to keep it alive as a low-priced VR solution for those who can't go dropping £400 on an Oculus Quest at the drop of a hat.

Google has released an open source project for its Google Cardboard to allow developers to build additional experiences and add support to their apps for various smartphone screen solutions and configurations. Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

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