Remember Google Cardboard? It's a Google project that uses a small cardboard contraption to effectively turn your smartphone into a basic VR headset. It's been sort of forgotten, but Volvo is putting it to good use to preview its new XC90 SUV.
Volvo's XC90 preview--which the auto maker claims is "the first virtual reality test drive on your phone"--works in conjunction with a free smartphone app, which is available now for Android, and will arrive in the iOS App Store on November 18th. Volvo designed the app with a Google Cardboard viewer in mind, but says that you don't need the viewer in order to use the app.
If you don't have a Cardboard viewer, you can make one using a large piece of corrugated cardboard and readily accessible items; Google provides a template as well as a materials list on its Cardboard website to help you get started. You can also just wait a few days: The Verge notes that Volvo will offer a Cardboard viewer starting Tuesday that you'll be able to order via the app.
Why this matters: Sure, Cardboard seems kind of silly at first blush, but Volvo has shown that Cardboard--which seemed to be little more than a novelty--may have a place in the tech world after all. It isn't too hard to see how Google Cardboard could be taken a step further to make smartphone games and other apps that much more immersive and engaging.