Google and Toy Maker Mattel Reveal Virtual Reality "View-Master"

Google virtual reality, Cardboard, will be sold as a toy.

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Google and toy maker Mattel revealed that they are collaborating on a new version of the classic View-Master toy that uses Google's smartphone-based virtual reality solution, Cardboard.

Like Google Cardboard and Samsung's and Oculus' Gear VR, the new View-Master is a headset with a slot that holds an Android smartphone, which will produce the images.

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The original View-Master, first introduced in 1939, used stereoscopic images to make you feel like you were seeing 3D images of locations around the world. The new View-Master, Mattel said in a press release, will similarly let users visit "famous places, landmarks, nature, planets and more in 360 degree ‘photospheres.'"

"We developed Google Cardboard as an open platform to inspire companies like Mattel to rethink how to deliver new user experiences through technology," Google Cardboard Product Director Mike Jazayeri said in a press release. "Many of us on the Google Cardboard team grew up playing with View-Master, so we were excited to collaborate with Mattel and to see the viewer evolve and work with Google Cardboard."

Mattel will release the new View-Master in fall 2015 for $30, and will sell additional "experience reels" for $15, each of which will feature four experiences, with multiple areas to explore.

Google first revealed Cardboard in June 2014, describing it as a "no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset." Google has also released instructions on how to build a virtual reality viewer to use with the smartphone app. The viewer is constituted primarily of everyday items, including cardboard, lenses, magnets, velcro, a rubber band, and an optional stick NFC tag.

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