Google, Mattel partnered for new View-Master VR Headset
With the aid of virtual reality technology, the classic stereoscopic photo viewer from Mattel has been overhauled for the digital era. Today, Google and Mattel announced that they partnered to give a fresh, new take on the old View-Master, using Google’s Cardboard virtual reality technology. The original View-Master stereoscopic photo viewer became one of the sought-after toys of the 20th century when it was introduced in the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It can be recalled by many that the original View-Master is a 3D viewer with reels containing color slides, and by turning a lever on the viewer, kids can see various imagery of TV shows, movies, and places around the world.
As with the Google Cardboard VR headset, the new, modern View-Master will have a slot for inserting your smartphone, and by downloading from the hundreds of Cardboard-optimized apps available on the Google Play Store, its users (kids and adults alike) can enjoy viewing content in virtual reality. In addition, the “experience reels” will be supplied with every purchase of the VR headset, and these reels will give an additional augmented reality experience to enhance the VR content projected from the smartphone. These reels, identical to the original ones, make the AR experience based on the reel’s topic. Some of the reels’ contents feature some of the world’s popular places or even the Solar System.
According to Mattel, they are planning to bring the archived reels’ contents onboard the new View-Master. For the record, the classic View-Master had an estimated count of 1.5 billion units sold since it was introduced to the world, and these units had been shipped with more than 10,000 kinds of reel content. These archived contents include very popular legacy content like the Star Wars photos, and even some unpublished concert pictures of the late pop icon Michael Jackson.
Mattel and Google plan to bring the all-new View-Master to consumers later this fall, and the pricing is incredibly affordable for its worth. The View-Master will be priced at just $40, and the VR kit comes with a free sample reel. A set of three experience reels will be an optional purchase at just $15. Mike Jayazeri, product director for Google Cardboard, said that the goal of Cardboard is to make immersive virtual reality experiences for everyone, and the new View-Master VR headset is the most natural and bite-sized way for kids to experience the VR technology today.