Mattel’s brand new View-Master is a VR headset based on Google Cardboard
Remember the old Mattel View-Master? It was like a personal slideshow strapped to your face, and back in the ’70s, it was a pretty hot toy. Well, five years after it was declared dead, it’s back and more advanced than ever before.
The new View-Master is a virtual reality headset for your smartphone based on Google Cardboard, and when accompanied by the custom Mattel app, it’ll let you explore iconic locations and lots more without having to leave your living room.
With the classic View-Master, you inserted little round plastic discs filled with slides of 3D images. You could enjoy landscapes, stills from your favorite cartoons, and lots more. Or so my parents tell me. With the new model, you pop in your smartphone for a more modern virtual reality experience.
But those little plastic discs aren’t going away. They’ll combine with Mattel’s new app, which uses augmented reality, and allow you to explore cities, buildings, and iconic locations like Alcatraz and the space shuttle all in amazing 3D.
Mattel says it is also working to turn some of its classic View-Master reels into virtual reality experiences. “We’re creatively trying to figure out ways to use the old imagery in ways that enhance the new experience,” senior vice president Doug Wadleigh told USA Today.
Mattel calls these “360 degree photospheres,” and you’ll be able to purchase different models that provide different experiences separately. You’ll also be able to use the new View-Master just like any other Google Cardboard headset.
You won’t be restricted to Mattel’s own app; you can load up any Cardboard-compatible app on your smartphone and it’ll work just fine inside the View-Master.
View-Master will cost just $30 when it goes on sale, and reels will be sold in packs of four for $15. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until this fall to get your hands on it.