October 17, 2014

The Story of DIY Virtual Reality on the Beach in my Favorite Winter White Lace Dress

I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a true winter here in California, but I have been dreaming about the snow I'll see after I head out East for the holidays. I thought this lacy white dress with cute cut-outs would be the perfect beach cover-up as I dream of later matching it with the soft white snow, paired with tall boots and layers when it finally gets cold. For now I'm enjoying the lingering warmth we're getting in the city, and soaking up as much beach time as possible.

Always looking to stay entertained on the beach, I started to get a little restless when it got too windy to fly my drone. Recently, I came across this cardboard Virtual Reality (VR) toolkit after watching the demo done by Craig Dalton, CEO of DODOcase at the VR Event I mentioned earlier this month.

A quick Q/A with Dalton revelaed the following insights:
ME: How did DodoCase come about? 
DALTON: DODOcase believes the next million VR experiences will come from mobile devices and has made it possible for the masses to explore VR in a cost effective, attainable way with the DODOcase Smartphone Virtual Reality Viewer. The company's build-your-own kit costs only $25 and will allow anyone the ability to experience VR. Inspired by the Google cardboard kit announced at the I/O conference, DODOcase was quick to act by designing and developing its own version of the viewer and an app (in beta) {link to Playstore} to go with it. Since June 26th, the company has sold more than 15,000 units to VR enthusiasts and developers around the world.  DODOcase is looking to connect with content and app developers who are pioneering the VR space. Email DODOcaseVR developers@dodocase.comMore generally we saw an opportunity to create a handcrafted case for iPads in 2010 and built our business from there!
ME: That is fantastic, we love anything to do with handcrafted and developer pioneering. It looks like your site has some other offerings, how are these connected and or are there plans for more techy case accessories? 
DALTON: The common thread across our products is our focus on tablet and phone accessories and the maker movement.   Whether we are making the products or encouraging the DIY movement, we'll continue to look at the changing ways people use devices.  
ME: If you could share any future plans with us for more DIY VR fun, what can you say about it? 
DALTON: We've got a lot up our sleeve for this exciting market!   As excited as I am about what we are working on, I'm equally excited about the types of work I'm seeing in progress in the content and developer communities.   VR is really happening and I can't wait to see what great stuff unfolds in the next 6 months. 

Inspired by the Google IO's release of the Google Cardboard, DODOCase has put everything you need (including easy step-by-step instructions) into this cute little box. Here is all you need to "peer into the future". Stickers, magnets, velcro, optic lenses, and of course, cardboard! Everything is pretty sand-friendly.


You'll need to download the accompanying app in the store as well, available for both Android and iOS. Inside this beta app, there are a bunch of fun games and tools to get the most out of your VR experience.

Here is a glimpse of my building journey. Of course I had to wear my delicate Marc by Marc Jacobs Bolt Cluster Hinge Bracelet, because it made me feel a little more 'handy'.


 I set up a spot away from the water and up high in the dunes to get set up.



I laid the instructions and materials out, unwrapping each little individual piece was really fun and delightful each time I discovered something new. Cute magnets, pieces of tape, NFC stickers...might as well just call me Martha Stewart. This is also a good shot of the cut-outs on my dress (you can see more details on my Polyvore page soon).


The eyeholes were conveniently pre-cut into perfect little circles.


Maybe I'll get one more kit to hand craft my halloween mask.


DODOCase has also included a high-end, Topaz 512 NFC (Near Field Communication) tag with the kit.


The wrapped antenna provides the widest possible zone to interact with the place of your phone's NFC reader. Be sure to turn on your NFC (find it in the settings menu) for your phone, then voila! Once the phone touches the sticker, the app will launch automatically. (Hmmm what else can we use these stickers for ;)


Almost finished, I did hit one little hurdle. The instructions for the nosepiece that came with the kit was not particularly clear, and after putting it in backwards and realizing it was not right, I had to go back a couple of steps. This is me looking a little impatient.


At last it was complete, and I just popped my phone (a rather large Galaxy S5) in. It made the cardboard bulge out just a little, but it worked just fine. I started by turning on my camera to look through, and cant think of the words to describe what I saw, except, "wow". It was really like looking through a whole new set of eyes. Wearing the VR device puts you into a new world, and I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did. Let me know your thoughts below in the comments area or via social media.



Putting together any crafty thing works up an appetite, so before heading back to the beach to play, we celebrated our success with by grabbing a nosh at Devil's Teeth Baking Company.


I cannot recommend their Special Breakfast Sandwich enough, eggs, avocado, garlic aioli, bacon, cheese, (and I always add tomato) served on a flakey homemade biscuit . If you're going to have breakfast, might as well make it delicious.


Here are some super stylish beach reads recommended by my cousin. I'd advice anyone else in the tech industry trying to sell me another giant black (or pink) wristband wearable to please catch up on some creative arts and style reads as well. 

  


Ok, that's it for today. Now I'm back off to the beach to read, eat, and peer into the future...

xoxo -Julia