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Delve into the world of VR with a free headset

06 October 2017
Want a free VR headset? Who wouldn’t. Do you have a few hundred pounds to not only buy a top of the range headset itself, but the computer power to run it? Most of us don’t. Even when you can now purchase VR equipment for your home games console, this can still be outside of most of our price ranges. So how can VR, or 360 experiences be something that’s accessible to all? Better yet, how can it be free and still high quality? Well, to start, a few years ago Google created the Google Cardboard VR device. A simple, low tech, cardboard headset with a pair or stereoscopic lenses to turn the smart phone in your pocket into a low budget immersive experience and this Saturday you will be able to get your hands on a similar cardboard VR device for FREE thanks to the Guardian newspaper

At QUAD we believe in making digital experiences accessible for all and thanks to the Guardian we can share some of the things we find great about cardboard VR for you to enjoy at home, or anywhere else for that matter. 

Did you know...? You can type “360 video” into Youtube and be presented with thousands of ready-to-go content, from rollercoaster rides to documentaries. Go over to 360cities.net and experience the world through 360 photography from travellers and explorers uploading content daily. Simply find the content you wish to view on your phone, hit the cardboard icon, slide inside your headset and enjoy. Google themselves also provide access to a number of VR and 360 content through the Play Store. 

VR content is gradually providing more and more access to the world around us and in turn open our minds to some big and important questions about where we’re heading. For our summer exhibition Our Friends Electric we featured many artists who helped to pose the questions around our hopes and fears for a present and future increasingly shaped by technological advancement. Which, though a cardboard VR headset you can experience digitally through Derby based company Mixed Realities and their 3D scan of our exhibition. This exploration also brought to our attention the wonderfully charming and deeply thought provoking Sundance Award winning Cardboard Crash, by Vincent McCurley & the NFB Digital Studio, which looks at the role of AI in life or death decision making.  

VR and 360 can also provide an insight into another perspective that many of us can’t experience or express. At QUAD we’re passionate about making arts and culture accessible to all and through our Children in Need funded Q Club, we provide structured and developmental participatory arts workshops with a focus on the collaboration of digital and traditional creative exploration for those on the autistic spectrum. Tools that we find useful to give others and insight into what it’s like to view the world through the eyes of someone with autism include the National Autistic Society’s Too Much Information (TMI) video, which gives a small glimpse into what it’s like to deal with just a few of the issues faced by someone on the autistic spectrum. 
VR has a lot to explore in the years to come, through experiences that entertain and enlighten. One things for certain is that it’s with the reach of all of us and now is a great time to get involved in the wider world of conversation and visual content.

Get your FREE headset this weekend and come and join us in a world of discovery.

John Whall – Digital Participation Curator

@john_whall