Google Cardboard was launched with some fanfare two years ago. But with impending Daydream VR they are old news and retailers are clearing their inventory. I picked up one example of the breed, Utopia 360, as a Deal of the Day from Best Buy. This viewer allowed the lenses to adjust both for distance between eye and distance to screen. Much better than the fixed-lenses devices like the Mattel View-Master VR.
There are a few problems with the Utopia 360, though. The first I tackled was the phone mount mechanism. It was a sprint-loaded set of plastic clamps that has the unfortunate property of pressing and holding down the power button on the Nexus 5X, turning the phone off. Another mounting solution will be needed.
Since I had measured the dimensions of my Nexus 5X for the car holder project, the data easily translated into a project to make a replacement phone mount. The Utopia 360 bracket had to be two pieces as the phone mount area is too large for my little 3D printer to print all in one piece.
Since I’m customizing to a specific phone, there’s no need for sprint-loaded adjustability. The bracket precisely fits and grasps a Nexus 5X, with a cutout to stay clear of the power and volume buttons on the side. The end is also open, so I can plug in headphones and power if I needed to. And a little final touch: circular cutout to clear the phone’s camera bump, allowing the phone to sit flush.
Now I can enjoy Google Cardboard VR experiences on my Nexus 5X in the Utopia 360 viewer without being rudely interrupted by the phone powering off or changing the sound volume. I am, however, unable to interact with the VR app. While more recent Cardboard VR viewers like the View-Master included a lever for the user to tap the screen, Utopia 360 did not.
That’ll be the next project.