The world's cheapest VR controller is made out of cardboard
That Google Cardboard is bringing virtual reality experiences to anyone with a smartphone for an almost negligible price is impressive. But the RealTrigger Kickstarter project wants to take Cardboard one step further by turning it into a fully functional VR controller.
Behind the unnervingly ropey video (below) for the RealTrigger project lies a good idea: crank down the hefty cost of VR controllers to reasonable levels. Let's face it, putting aside for a moment the hundreds of pounds the headsets themselves will cost, additional VR peripherals aren't going to come cheap. Unless, that is, you make it out of cardboard with a design simple enough for anyone to construct.
That's right, the second tier of pledge (coming in at a measly $10) wins the backer a blueprint so they can simply make a RealTrigger of their own. It's this sort of reckless abandon with its own design that cements the sincerity Realiteer's message: "VR is for everyone."
Well, we say everyone, but probably not for the fashion conscious. The two flat pieces of patterned cardboard are garish by necessity, as it means that their position and orientation in space is easily detectable by a smartphone camera. Sure, you're not going to look super cool holding this thing, but what really matters is that when you move your real hand, your virtual hand responds in kind.
As you've probably guessed, the RealTrigger doesn't provide the same degree of fidelity to be seen from a Vive controller, but as it's made from cardboard we think we can cut it some slack. It does however provide enough useful degrees of motion to engage in experiences where your hand is pointing roughly in front of you, which is perfectly sufficient for most games where you're pulling a trigger.
Speaking of which, the only piece of software currently seen in use with the RT is a charming bubble gun game made by Realiteer developer and former Dreamworks VFX artist Fangwei Lee. However, according to the team this most basic of hardware will be compatible with all the high end headsets, and presumably, the games that come with them, though detailed plans for integration are lacking at this point.
If you're tempted by the whole cardboard VR affair then you should know that Realiteer also makes an equivalent of Google Cardboard called RealViewer which sits on your head without constant support from your left hand. The Kickstarter has 28 days left on the clock so you've got plenty of time to put down your pledge before RealTrigger goes all commercial and stuff.