If you remember being a kid, you likely remember a gimmicky plastic toy that you looked through to look at pictures on special film in stereoscopic 3D, the Mattel View-Master. At the time, it probably blew your mind. Mattel is back in action with a completely reimagined View-Master made for more than simple 3D illusions. This new View-Master, announced and demoed in February, runs special software built on Google Cardboard. The new View-Master also sports a brand new design, bringing it into the 21st century with svelte curves and a futuristic back window that allows your phone's camera to peek through. Made for both virtual reality and augmented reality, the newest iteration of the popular toy promises to blow even more young minds and perhaps even impress seasoned techies who handled previous models as children.
A special app, called the Experience Pack app, will allow you to scan cards you can buy at retail outlets and download new content for the toy. Content is made in collaboration with National Geographic and NASA for now, with more providers and types of content presumably coming in the future. These content packs boast different destinations, features and interesting things to see with the headset. Users can take a 3D tour of London, see a pride of lions in their natural habitat or journey to outer space, among tons of other fun adventures. Just like the View-Master versions of your childhood, the magic starts with a pull of the lever, then you're given a show of an animated 3D world using Cardboard technology. Augmented and virtual reality has been promised, with the inclusion of the old-school View-Master reel for the former.
The new View-Master is already available through Walmart.com, but availability will increase in the coming weeks, eventually culminating in a retail release through most popular toy outlets such as Toys R' Us, Target and Wal-Mart's physical stores. The gadget is priced at $30 with content starting at $15 a pack and going up from there for more grandiose adventures. And, of course, it will most likely be usable as a normal Cardboard device when the kids are asleep and your inner child is satisfied.