Launched for the first time back in 1939 at the World’s Fair in New York, the View-Master was by all accounts and purposes one of the first attempts at what we today call virtual reality.
By putting the head mounted display over the top of your eyes, you could see the Grand Canyon and other scenic landscapes. Over time, the View Master has become a relic, falling to the wayside in today’s age of high tech screens on tablets and smartphones.
However, Mattel is giving the relic a futuristic facelift in collaboration with Google, which was announced on Friday by both companies.
The new View-Master is the equivalent of Oculus Rift for children. It can deliver true virtual reality as well as augmented reality by integrating with the Cardboard technology of Google, the Internet behemoth’s own attempt at making virtual reality affordable.
The new View-Master, which is red and white and for children 7 years of age and older, is easy to operate by downloading the app on a smartphone, sticking the phone into the View Master and moving into a virtual reality zone.
The global brands senior vice president at Mattel, Doug Wadleigh said that virtual reality, augmented reality and photospheric imaging are not necessarily new technologies, but the goal with the new View-Master is to make virtual reality accessible, entertaining, educational, family friendly and simple to use.
While this is likely Mattel’s first step ahead in modernizing its huge toy catalog, it is only one example of the way Google is attempting to woo the younger user. Google last summer announced it would open Google Classroom, a tool made to help teachers to organize assignments, to different school across the United States.
Last year, Google spoke of its intentions of beginning the redesign of some of its products that have been the most popular, such as Chrome and YouTube for kids 12 and under. With the new View-Master, Google has found another way into the lives of children, and planting the seed for a new generation of tech users.