NEW YORK (AFP) – Google and toy giant Mattel said Friday they were teaming up to revamp the classic View-Master device, injecting it with digital-age virtual reality.
The upgraded View-Master – a device unveiled in 1939 to allow people to view slides to simulate a three-dimensional experience – will become “an immersive digital experience for kids,” a statement from the two companies said.
The new device will be available later this year at a price of around US$30 for US consumers.
A sample reel allows users to experience a journey into space with a tour inside a space shuttle, and a chance to explore destinations in 360 degrees. Additional reel packs will be sold separately.
The new View-Master will incorporate the Google Cardboard platform – an inexpensive system which uses a smartphone enveloped in the folds of cardboard for a simplified virtual reality experience.
It will be paired with a smartphone and app to provide “an imaginative and interactive learning environment,” the statement said.
“The View-Master was first introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, giving consumers access to spectacular 3D worlds by simply selecting a reel and looking through a device,” said Mattel vice president Doug Wadleigh.
“By working with Google’s Cardboard platform, we are now able to take that experience even further, bringing the discovery and immersive viewing experience of the View-Master to the digital age.”
Mike Jazayeri, product director for Google Cardboard, said, “Many of us on the Google Cardboard team grew up playing with View-Master, so we were excited to collaborate with Mattel and to see the viewer evolve and work with Google Cardboard.”