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Google Offers VR Simulation System “Expeditions” for Free to Schools

The Google Cardboard head-mounted display (HMD) has been one of the best ways to sample virtual reality (VR) technology, due to its cost effective and easy to use design. It can be purchased or made (using online instructions) and will accept a wide variety of smartphones. And now the tech giant is looking at helping US schools adopt the technology by offering its field-trip simulation system, called Expeditions, free to schools.

The Expeditions project which Google detailed back at its I/O conference in May, sees the company giving schools VR kits which include a Cardboard HMD and ASUS smartphones for the students. While teachers will use an app that controls the trips via a tablet, reports the New York Times.

“There was very little precedent for using this technology in schools. We really feel we are breaking that cycle of giving schools yesterday’s technology,” said Ben Schrom, a product manager for Google Apps for Education.

The software uses images from Google Street View to create 360 degree immersive experiences, alongside 3D imagery from a 16 camera system built by GoPro. While the project is currently free to help push it out, Google may in time start to charge. “I would certainly see a scenario where we sell these kits to schools. It depends on how successful we are at driving the costs down to an accessible place,” Schrom adds.

VRFocus will continue to follow the latest news and announcements on VR and report back.