Google today released Cardboard Camera, a Google Cardboard-compatible app that let’s take 3D panoramic photos with your smartphone and then view them in a VR smartphone adapter.
Google is calling the 3D panoramas taken by Cardboard Camera “VR photos,” which combines a stereoscopic image taken with your smartphone’s single lens in portrait mode, and a short audio clip—creating what amounts to a sort of ‘still-frame memory’. A number of example photos come pre-loaded with the app to give you the gist of the sort of spaces you might want to capture.
Capturing these VR-viewable memories for yourself is easy with Cardboard Camera. Just tap on the camera button on the lower right-hand side of the app and rotate your smartphone slowly until you’ve completed a 360 pan of your environment. The app warns you to take it easy if you’re panning to quickly.
After a short processing of the photo, the result will be a neatly stitched stereoscopic panorama that actually fills out to be an entire photosphere. Selecting your photo will reveal the Cardboard icon, which prompts you to toss your smartphone into your VR smartphone adapter of choice.
That’s all there is to it. Now you have a surprisingly well-stitched, quick and dirty photosphere, as the app automatically blurs the top and bottom of the photo to make for a full 360-degree experience. The resultant sterescopic image gives some parallax, but it’s not what you’d call perfect 3D. Considering it’s coming from a single lens on your smartphone, there’s plenty of room for forgiveness however.
Widely considered the most accessible virtual reality experience, Google’s ongoing development of Cardboard apps is pushing VR further and further into the mainstream. Cardboard Camera itself is available in 17 languages, giving the sort of basic VR experiences of creating and viewing photospheres a much farther reach in terms of worldwide usability. We’ve seen this commitment to making VR available to the world from Google with a number of their Cardboard services, including the Cardboard app itself which is available in 39 languages and over 100 countries on both Android and iOS devices.