Looking for something to do this weekend? How about visiting the Great Wall in Bejing, enjoying some street art in New york, witnessing a scene of war, or crossing the desert to meet a dancing shaman and a sphinx shooting laser from his eyes?
You can experience all this and much more with Google Carboard’s virtual reality.
What is that? Cardboard is a virtual reality platform developed by Google. It works with your smartphone and an inexpensive fold-out cardboard mount.
Where do I get it? I bought this model on Amazon. It arrived last Saturday. I installed more apps in one day than in the rest of my life. If you buy one, make sure the model fits the screen of your phone. Alternatively, you can craft it.
How to use it? First you should install the main app “Cardboard”, which works similarly to ” Play Store”. From there you can get all the apps and keep them in one place. You then open the app and place the phone into the headset. YES. You are now in a 3D space. Your phone will be surprisingly precise showing the space around you as you turn.
How many apps are out there? Google says more than 500. There are three categories of apps: Experiences, Games, Music. Most of them are free.
Does it works with iOS? Yes, since May 2015.
Which are the best apps? My favourite app for each category.
Music – Squarepusher is my favourite so far. The app is a videoclip of squarepusher’s Stor Eiglass song. A visionary journey. It stands out completely in its category, where many other music apps are live performances of artists songs you can see close to the stage.
Experience – War of words. A voice will read the poem while an animation of a war scene will leave you breathless. I love the poem, very suggestive.
Games – I neglected the gaming section after few terrible racing games. Then found my category’s winner in Chair in a room. This game is seriously scary. I suggest you to buy an elastic strap to prevent you throwing your phone away.
What is the future for cardboard? The interest in the platform is now growing. Some companies are developing their own apps, as Volvo, North Face and Mercedes already have. It will be indeed interesting to see how this media will be used as the platform evolves. The overall experience is already enjoyable.
Make sure you try cardboard.
Here the story of my approach with the chinese brush.
Last autumn I moved to Scotland, a stunning country where it rains a lot. Then I started my master in Creative Advertising at Edinburgh Napier Uni. New country, new town, new people, new challenges. Because I wanted to make my life easier, I also started a trimester of Chinese calligraphy classes. Master of the course, the exceptional Chi Zhang. During those months I did my best to learn how to use the chinese brush, which is an incredibly expressive tool.
“Listen the rain”.
To write in chinese, the first thing you do is learn how to hold the brush: two inches from its tip. The second thing is understand the right quantity of water to pour in the ink. Third, get the rice paper. Then you are good to go. There are only few thousands of characters you might want to use.
Chinese grammar is infact, extremely complex. Although some large dictionaries have over 50,000 characters, you ‘only’ need 2 – 3,000 to read a newspaper. Not all Chinese words are made up of single characters. Most words in Chinese are actually made up of a combination of characters.
While you will try to memorise some of them, you might find out that the ink you are using doesn’t come off the clothes. This will maybe help to rememer.
Photograph taken with a Polaroid 100.