If your childhood was anything like mine then you’ll hold a certain sense of nostalgia towards the words View-Master. I was one of the last generations where most children still didn’t have a computer in their house by the age of 8 years old. Unlike the generations that superseded us we had toys that required a little more imagination and a lot less technology. The View-Master definitely fits into this category of classic children’s toy. Back in those days, I could click through my paper wheel and be walking with dinosaurs (providing there was enough light in the room) all before my mum had made my lunch of cheese and crisp sandwiches. Needless to say, it was magical.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and i’m sure the current generation of children would be as impressed with the original view-master as they would playing with a bit of wood (another one of my favourite childhood toys). Children of today have been exposed to so much technology by the time that their 8 years old, that they probably already own a smart phone on a 4g network.
Luckily the guys at Google have recognised this and teamed up with Mattel to bring you a View-Master fit for the 21st century. The aim of this project was not only to revamp the View-Master but to bring VR technology to a much younger audience at a very affordable price of £20.
It’s called the View-Master Virtual Reality Viewer and it’s aimed at children 7 and older. It operates in a similar way to what you would have previously seen with a Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR as it’s used in conjunction with your smart phone in order to provide a completely immersive experience where children (or adults) can explore and learn about wildlife, space and landmark destinations. The device is perfect for children as its been made in a robust and child friendly way that can deal with all the bump and bangs that come so naturally to kids.
The device has a striking resemblance to the original classic with a few small changes. You no longer load your picture wheels into the top but instead point the device at the (now plastic) wheel to open up an augmented reality menu and get things started. There are currently 4 view master apps which transport you into an interactive learning experience through the realms of space, wildlife, underwater and cultural destinations. Each app does have in-app costs associated with it but the amount of content you get is well worth the price. The device can also use any app that is compatible with google cardboard so your not limited exclusively to View-Master content.
For anyone who hasn’t used virtual reality before and can’t imagine how the View-Master could get such an upgrade then the best way to get your head around the concept would be to watch the following video of adults reacting to the device and its capabilities:
Now you’ve watched the video I can only assume you reacted the same way that I did and want to rush out and buy one for your children or yourself if you don’t have kids, don’t worry, we won’t tell ;-). The ViewMaster Virtual Reality Viewer is currently available from Amazon and you buy it here.
We think this a great way to not only get your kids learning in a fun way that’s fit for the 21st century but to also give them a taste of what it was like for us growing up.
If you want to know if it works with your smart phone then follow this link, to see a list of compatible devices.
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