Google is making Cardboard VR open source

Just last month Google announced that it was killing off its Daydream VR project. The news came in the midst of the company’s annual “Made by Google” event when the search giant revealed that it’s new Pixel smartphones would not support Daydream. It also said that it would no longer be selling the headsets. 

Now, however, comes the news that Google is making the Cardboard VR project open source.

Google Cardboard has been around for quite a few years now, with all manner of affordable smartphone-centric headsets available from numerous manufacturers. Even the search giant claims that more 15 million units of its cheap Cardboard Manufacturer Kit have shipped worldwide since it launched. 

This move to make the Cardboard project open source will mean that developers will have an easier time creating their own VR experiences and even adding support for Cardboard headsets to their pre-existing apps. 

It seems that Google has seen fewer people using Cardboard since it launched but the company is keen to support developers who want to embrace the ecosystem:

“While we’ve seen overall usage of Cardboard decline over time and we’re no longer actively developing the Google VR SDK, we still see consistent usage around entertainment and education experiences, like YouTube and Expeditions, and want to ensure that Cardboard’s no-frills, accessible-to-everyone approach to VR remains available.”

The open source project will provide APIs for head tracking, lens distortion rendering and input handling. Google also says it has included an Android QR code library, meaning that any newly developed apps will be able to pair with any Cardboard viewer without depending on the Cardboard app.

If you’re interested in dabbling with the Cardboard VR project, Google has released developer documentation and uploaded the Cardboard SDK to a GitHub repo.

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