Did Google just spark a new cheap way to communicate design?

Google Cardboard

With the revealing of the Google cardboard project at the annual I/O event this year, did Google just spark a new way for architects/designers to communicate their design intent?

There is no doubt that mainstream VR is coming, and in a big way. But with the cost of current development kits like the Oculus being in the 100’s of dollars, the average client is not going to rush out and purchase one just so you can show them their design.

Companies such as vrAse (among others), have already taken the initiative to start developing a lower cost head unit which works directly with your mobile phone acting as the display. But once again, while the cost might not be as high as an Oculus, a cost is still incurred for your client.

But what if the entry cost was so low that you could justify sending the client their own VR unit?

This is why Google’s cardboard project is so important. By significantly lowering the cost of a disposable VR headset, and one that works with a mobile phone, a client can have access to immersive presentations which they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Since the goggles are already embedded with a low cost NFC sticker which you can pre-program before posting, all a client has to do is fold the unit together, place their mobile phone, and start viewing.

In this case, the NFC sticker is already programmed to automatically load the mobile phone’s web browser, and kicks off the presentation.

Here’s a browser based example of what could be possible.

This could provide a very low cost, and barrier free means to get customers more engaged with your designs.

Chad is a consultant to the AEC industry, a design technologist, VDC advocate, BIM Manager, early Revit adopter, and public speaker.