Virtual Reality: Queen’s Brian May Has Created A Cardboard Rival

Brian May

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Queen’s Bryan May is a genius, and not just because he’s a guitar virtuoso. No, the lead guitarist of the British rock band is also a literal rocket scientist … ok technically astrophysicist. He can now add inventor to that, as he’s designed a 3D virtual reality viewer that can fit in your pocket, and rivals Google Cardboard.

“I think ultimately virtual reality will change the world, because you’ll be able to build exactly what you want and have everything in [the virtual world] that you love and cherish, and you will feel like you can touch and you can hear and you can interact with them.” – Brian May, CNET

Brian May The Owl VR
Brian May’s The Owl VR viewer

May calls his new 3D printed invention The Owl, and like Cardboard, you can unfold it, slide a mobile device into it and enjoy 3D, 360°virtual and augmented reality videos and photos, just like Google Cardboard.

May designed The Owl after a life-long fascination with Stereoscopic imagery. Since he was child, May was intrigued with how our brain and imagination can create the illusion of depth by placing two images close together in front of our eyes, something that our eyes do every day with the world around us. “We get two different views of the universe every second of our lives,” May says.

Using the old Victorian stereoscopic viewers as his inspiration to create The Owl, May says that “there’s no better way to experience 3D than the Victorian way.” And while is shares that spirit with Cardboard, the main difference between The Owl and Google’s viewer is that May’s design is very spartan with materials.

With open sides and no top, so that users can more easily access the phone’s touch screen, The Owl can be collapsed and placed in your back pocket until you need it. The phone’s adapter can slide forward and backward to adjust the focus and depth of field for the 3D effect. But in addition, May says that the back of The Owl’s phone adapter can be removed, and it can be used to view old world stereoscopic images from books.

May also says that virtual reality’s true potential isn’t necessarily in entertainment, so much as educational.

“It’s a way of educating people like never before,” he said. “You can put people in a situation they would never otherwise be in. You could be an astronaut flying in space.”

May believes that virtual reality will ultimately change the world as people can actually walk in the shoes of another, and be reminded just what a wonderful world we live in by seeing it from another perspective.

But the guitarist and inventor also warns that the feelings that virtual reality will create in people could become addictive, and that there will be a dark side. “… when you come out of it you feel a tug, a sort of nostalgia, a feeling that you’ve lost something … and I think eventually people won’t want to come out. We have to deal with that.”

Maybe. But I’m sure he wouldn’t fault me if I watched Freddie Mercury strut his stuff on the stage with him at Wembly should the need arise. To do that, you can pick up The Owl at London Stereoscopic Company, which he is an investor of (you can also pick it up at Amazon for around $30).

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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