Google’s Free Star Wars Cardboard Headsets Sold Out

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Get A Free Star Wars Edition Google Cardboard.

23-year-old Palmer Luckey is like a kid in a candy store. “Pick up that stick of dynamite, and hand it to me. In the run-up to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Google is giving away a limited number of -themed Cardboard headsets, and they’re 100 percent free, shipping included. Now let’s light it together!” he instructs me, as it explodes in a cloud of sparks. “Now let’s try to hit these moving targets with our catapults,” he suggests, while I practice shooting pellets. “Nice!” Luckey is the teenage inventor of the Oculus Rift – the bulky headset paired with gloves that I am wearing in a room by myself.

Those who are fast enough to act on this offer can choose between four options – BB-8, Kylo Ren, R2-D2, and Stormtrooper – and all you’ve got to do after that is to check out your chosen variant and wait for the free Cardboard headset to arrive at your doorstep. I am inhabiting a digital world called Toybox where I can touch, move, squeeze, grasp and manipulate objects with my virtual hands – all I need to do is press on the gloves to clench and unclench. Last year, Oculus was sold to social networking giant Facebook for $2bn, turning the then-21-year-old into a millionaire. “I was 18 when I founded Oculus, but I had been working on VR for a few years before that,” he tells me, as I emerge from virtual reality to join the real Hawaiian-shirted, flip-flop-wearing Luckey. “It seemed like a super cool tech that made you feel like you were inside a game. So it was the combination of trying to find the best way to play a game, and my love of sci-fi which showed me all the crazy ideas of VR.” Luckey didn’t invent virtual reality – it’s been around for over two decades, used by everyone from the military to aerospace, to create an alternative reality inside the digital world. “In 1987, Nasa Ames research centre in California snuck me in and put a headset and glove on me,” says Professor Bob Stone, VR veteran and director of the University of Birmingham’s Human Interface Technologies Team. “I walked onto a very basic, wireframe graphic of an escalator in VR. In case you aren’t sure of what this thing is or does, Google Cardboard lets you drop your iPhone or Android phone into it and lets you view 360 degree videos and photos quite nicely.

The VR experience itself, which used to have a processing delay and cause nausea, is considerably better because computers are infinitely more powerful, motion sensors are more accurate, and displays have better resolution, Luckey points out. 2016 has already been branded the year of VR. And if it’s any consolation, Google does tend to have these Cardboard giveaways quite often these days, so there should be more to come if you want a taste of the company’s inexpensive VR headset…for free.

Technology giants from Samsung to Facebook and Sony will launch their headsets; Samsung’s Gear VR launched for mobile last month, while the simple £10 Google Cardboard can also give you basic VR experiences on your phone. You can only order one, but if you get your friends or family to grab one, you can assemble the entire set of four which includes BB-8, First Order Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, and R2-D2. But industries ranging from education to medicine, architecture and defence are applying the technology to patients, veterans, designers, submariners and students. With Star Wars releasing on the 18th of December, the excitement in the markets is HUGE and people are eagerly awaiting the release of more and more star wars themed merchandise. In these worlds that PTSD victims inhabit, Rizzo can control the time of day, the lighting, the types of explosions and debris flying overhead. “Essentially, it helps the patient repeatedly confront and process very difficult emotional memories, while they narrate the scene they experienced in real life,” Rizzo explains.

His systems have been used to treat over 2000 veterans in hospital sites around the country, and are now being tailored to treat other sorts of trauma, such as the type experienced in the wake of terrorist attacks like the Paris bombings or the World Trade Centre tragedy. Argentinian-American entrepreneur Fernando Tarnogol has founded Psytech, a company that has created a special VR environment to research and treat specific phobias and anxieties, such as agoraphobia, acrophobia, ornithophobia, claustrophobia, and others. A maverick group within British architect Sir Norman Foster’s renowned architecture firm Foster+ Partners, known as the Specialist Modelling group, experiments with emerging technologies.

The firm has built projects such as a lunar base for the Moon (for the European Space Agency), to the iconic Gherkin building in London, 30 St Mary Axe, and iPhone giant Apple’s new spaceship-shaped headquarters in Cupertino. Currently, the digital experts on his team are using it for two purposes: hyper-realistic walkthroughs of ongoing constructions with clients, and actually designing using virtual reality. “You can’t get a better representation of an unfinished building, it can really bring it to life for the client as we walk around it with them,” he explains. Just strap your phone into your Google Cardboard device, and you can be transported anywhere from North Korea to Syria, reliving some of history’s strangest and most defining moments, from a bomb in a busy Syrian marketplace, to a military anniversary march in Pyong Yang. The practice was pioneered by journalist and researcher Nonny de la Pena, who created an immersive VR video of a bomb explosion in Aleppo, Syria for the World Economic Forum – the video literally puts you right in the middle of the square, when the explosion goes off.

Since then, VR videos have ranged from an exploration of the bomb-ravaged Syrian city Jisr al-Choughour, filmed by a Syrian news reporter, to the BBC’s film on Calais’ makeshift migrant camps, which unexpectedly captured a group of refugees climbing onto the backs of lorries stuck in a traffic jam. We made the training simulator for that.” Stone also developed virtual and “mixed” reality systems for BAE Systems, with colleagues in Blackpool. The virtual environments can be used to train users up for future command and control concepts; for instance when they want to control multiple forces, either airborne or land-based, they can walk into a virtual operations HQ. “We are developing a portable virtual command station.

It enables you to see your immediate surroundings by tracking the position of humans, unmanned and manned trucks and tanks on the ground,” Stone says. The British Army also rolled out a recruitment campaign earlier this year, where they used Oculus Rift headsets to immerse people in military life, ranging from a live fire drill to driving a Challenger-2 tank. The Norwegian Army used the Rift headset to improve visibility for tank drivers, by allowing them to see what’s happening outside the hatch, almost as if they were actually outdoors.

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