Mattel, a multinational toy manufacturing company, and Google have joined forces to improve the View-Master toy by turning it into a high-tech device.
An updated version of the View-Master was revealed this year in October. The original View-Master was a popular toy introduced in 1966 (but the first View-Master system appeared in 1939). The old version of the toy looked like a pair of plastic binoculars that had corresponding cardboard View-Master “reels” of different drawings or photographs that could be seen in 3D (three dimensions).
The new high-tech View-Master needs a smartphone to work. For the device to work, an app must first be downloaded on the phone, and then the phone has to be inserted inside a slot on the new device. A cardboard reel also has to be placed into the View-Master.
You will see 3D icons hover over the cardboard reel, which has various images on it, as you look through the device. Mattel calls the effect ‘augmented reality’. To see the next image on the reel, you will have to pull a lever on the side of the device.
Several reel packs have been released by Mattel so far. They are known as ‘Experience Packs’. One of them enables you to take a look at wildfire across the globe, and another one lets you observe a 360-degree view of space. Moreover, the traditional reels also work on the new View-Master.
Google cardboard – a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google – is compatible with the new View-Master toy. The hundreds of apps of Google Cardboard can now be explored using Mattel’s new high-tech View-Master. (note: Google Cardboard headsets are built with simple, low-cost components and are used to look at apps developed with the VR software of Google)
In recent years a lot of similar virtual reality headsets have hit the market. However, Mattel’s new View-Master toy stands out because of its accessible price at just over $20. The new View-Master toy can be bought on Amazon, and it also comes with one cardboard reel. For approximately $15 you can also purchase the Experience Packs.
Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift – both of which are virtual reality headsets – retail for no less than $99. That being said, these headsets are more comprehensive than the View-Master toy.
Tom’s Guide is a site that offers more information on virtual reality headsets for those who would like to purchase one in the future.
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