Virtual reality headsets are the future we were promised, but it's unclear if they will just end up being toys for rich people. However, with a little help from Google, Mattel is resurrecting the classic View-Master for VR.
Kids are going to love this. Borrowing from the design of the original View Master, the sturdy headset combines the power of a smartphone with some clever augmented and virtual reality tricks. The phone snaps into the headset which includes a hole for the phone's camera to see what's in front of it as well as a little orange lever on the side for simple controls. For now, Mattel is selling "Experience Packs" in the form of classic View-Master disks. You download the proper app and then scan the NFC-enabled experience pack with your phone. Once you put on the headset, the disk comes alive and invites you to explore the virtual world.
That's fun enough, and we can surely expect to come out with all kinds of content from its toy empire. However, it's also cool to see a cheap VR headset with all the capabilities of Google Cardboard without actually being made of flimsy cardboard. The future is here, though it looks like you'll have to grab the future from US-based suppliers for the time being.