A virtual reality headset under 25 cents

Is the $4 price tag of a Google Cardboard on Amazon too much for your budget?

Don’t have the lenses and pizza box needed to make your own from scratch?

Try the TinVR kit, which turns an empty soda or beer can and some felt into a virtual reality headset that not only runs all Google Cardboard apps, but is fully compatible with Google Cardboard v2 — since it doesn’t block access to the smartphone screen.

Brian Ornstedt of TinVR.
Brian Ornstedt of TinVR at the Boston VR Meetup.

I got a chance to try one on at the Boston VR meetup this evening and it actually works. You actually look through two pinholes while you hold your smartphone a few inches in front of your face.

I tried out my favorite virtual roller coaster app, and it worked great.

Brian Ornstedt of TinVR.
Brian Ornstedt of TinVR.

It’s no Oculus Rift. But it’s a step up from just starting at your phone with your eyes crossed trying to get the 3D effect to kick in.

Instructions and templates are available for free online, and the company also plans to sell do-it-yourself kits.

TinVR is a Boston-based startup that actually launched today.

Brian Ornstedt
Brian Ornstedt

“We want as many people to have access to virtual reality as possible,” said Brian Ornstedt, president of TinVR. “We’re giving them the tools and the design to be able to do that.”

The company has also submitted an app to the Apple App Store, a simple 3D photo capture sharing and viewing app.

“It should be available next week,” Ornstedt said. An Android version of the app will be available later, he added.

Depending on where the materials are bought, it should cost between 15 and 20 cents to make each headset, if you can get the cans for free.


Maria Korolov