Google engineers recently came up with a clever trick to convert your Android phone into a portable Virtual Reality device, using mostly ordinary Cardboard.
The project is hosted at:
It is a do-it-yourself kit, that build a box around your phone, and uses two lenses (one for each eye) to help you focus on a close screen. Then, taking advantage of the very high resolution of modern phones, it splits the screen to generate a "left" view and a "right" view, as configured traditionally for stereovision.
The Virtual Reality software Kit also provides support to use data from the sensors built-in the phone, and to take the spatial orientation of the phone into account when generating the stereo images. For example moving the image as you move your head.
David Coz and Damien Henry at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris built a cardboard smartphone housing to prototype VR experiences as part of a 20% project. The results elicited so many oohs and ahs that they inspired a larger group to work on an experimental SDK.
Instructions on how to assemble the Carboard hardware are available here
and a Tutorial, for you to build your own is available here
Lesson learned: leaving empty Pizza boxes close to Engineers may have unintended consequences…