VIEW MASTER VR – MATTEL
The new-age View-Master virtual reality viewer is an inexpensive and innovative way to take your kids on an immersive journey, writes Izwan Ismail.
I STILL remember the excitement of getting to view 3D images on the classic View-Master stereoscope when I was young. Back then, when people like our grandparents, parents, relatives returned from the Haj, one of the souvenirs they brought back was the View-Master player, together with a few photo reels.
The binoculars-like viewer worked by slotting in the photo reel into its place and pulling the lever at the side to slide the photos while aiming at a light source to make the photos brighter. Everything was mechanical.
Although the pictures on the palm-sized reels, normally pictures of Mecca and other interesting places, were no where close to today’s high resolution pictures, the 3D effect and the excitement I got by looking at the images through the player was always awesome.
ENTER VR Thirty plus years ahead, when we all thought that the View-Master player is long gone and forgotten, it resurfaces with a new look and functionality. The View-Master Virtual Reality is the result of a partnership between Mattel, which is the maker of the device, and Google. Instead of using film reel disc to view the 3D content, the new generation device uses a smartphone, which is slotted into the viewer, making it a 3D VR viewer, like Google Cardboad and other VR viewers.
But View-Master, trying to be different from other players, has come out with its own content — educational apps. I feel that this is in line with its target audience: school children. THE APPS So how does it work? Since the film reel slot has not been replaced with a slot for smartphone up to 6 inches, it’s obvious that an app is the way forward for View-Master’s content.
There are educational apps such as View-Master Space, Destinations and Nat Geo Wildlife. I tried the starter pack preview reel with the View-Master Space app content by downloading it from iOS AppStore.
Google Play also has the same apps. If the classic version required you to pull the lever at the side to view the content and move the reel, this time you still have to pull the side lever to navigate through the content. In the View-Master Space app, you’ll learn many things about the Space Shuttle, its history, compartment functions and move and turn it around 360° to inspect it.