QR codes are one of my pet peeves, they never really caught on and I was fed up of 'brands' trying to push them as a fun, new thing. But here we are in 2016, as mobile VR is taking off and we need a way to control it. What comes along but a proof of concept VR controller made up of a piece of paper with oversized, printed letters on it: PaperStick which owes its existence to goddamn QR codes.
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The paper controller, which you can wave in front of your phone camera when it's in a Cardboard headset, is the work of South Korean indie developer Ko Jong-Min who showed it off to Fast.Co Design. It's designed to be printed out by the user, folded into a triangular tube and used with the $2 app Poppist.
It acts as a DIY handheld controller for mobile VR and in the virtual world can be represented as a virtual laser gun that pops hologram balloons in the demo game. The potential is there for it to act as anything - hands, paintbrush etc. You can tilt the PaperStick, use it to aim and press a button on the top - which the phone camera can see in order to track.
Jong-Min is experimenting with the size of the paper - make it a bigger sheet and less of a stick and the tracking improves, though at the expense of the 'stick' ergonomics. Hmm, tricky.
But the appeal here is that PaperStick is essentially almost free - a bit of printer ink and a cheap app - though, of course, you won't be playing all the most popular Cardboard games with this just yet.
If you fancy giving it a go as a little Christmas Cardboard project, download PaperStick here.
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