In Neal Stephenson's seminal Cyberpunk novel Snow Crash
-- which reportedly influenced the creation of Google Earth, and which Time
called one of the 100 best English-language books since it began publishing in 1923 -- virtual reality is a day-to-day fact of life, with the Internet projected directly onto people's eyeballs with a laser. In real life, we're not nearly that far along with VR, but Google is trying to push it to the masses with Google Cardboard
which it is marketing as an inexpensive and easy way to turn your phone into a VR headset.
Google Cardboard, which is basically a box designed to encapsulate a smartphone in front your eyes, has a growing number of apps designed for it, ranging from a Star Wars-themed game to a Paul McCartney concert. But made of cardboard, it is hardly designed to last.
A tougher version was released at CES this year by Speck
, known for its best-selling, military-grade iPhone and Android cases. The Speck Pocket VR Bundle offers a fold-out design that built over a Speck CandyShell Grip protective case. Two side panels fold out to reveal lenses that fit over your eyes to view apps in immersive 3D virtual reality. It is compatible with Google Cardboard apps and other VR content producers like Jaunt
The Speck retails for $69.95 and is available from Rymax Marketing Services