Cardboard consists of a cardboard body usually with plastic lenses formed into a headset that has a place to insert a smartphone. Sometimes there are other features for controlling apps like magnets inserted into the cardboard. To date, DonPWest apps use only gaze; you are used to controlling programs with the keyboard or the mouse but with a VR headset you usually don’t have those options. So if clicking is needed to control the app, sometimes magnets are used which can be readily accessed and moved allowing another form of input, etc. But you can also just use the gaze of the user to interact with the app. That is; something happens when you physically look in a certain direction. This method eliminates or reduces the need for other forms of interaction. All DonPWest apps to date use this technique of Gaze. When you are looking at a particular scene, you just look up at the floating icons in the sky. Once you aim your gaze correctly, a colored partial circle forms over that icon. It changes colors as the circles rotate until it turns green and then you will be in another scene corresponding to the icon you gazed at.

You slide your smartphone (for DonPWest apps you currently need an android phone. Some apps will run on iPhone too or only on iPhone but DonPWest apps run only on android smartphones as of this writing) into the cardboard compartment in the cardboard headset designed to hold it. The app runs on your smartphone and you use the cardboard headset to hold the phone and to view the app. This provides an easy entry into the emerging world of virtual reality for everyone.Once you have the android smartphone and you have cardboard, you can go to the google play store...

All DonPWest apps are Virtual Reality apps. Virtual Reality, VR, has come to mean lots of things. In the case of DonPWest apps, it means you can physically turn your body, move your head and look around the scene as though you are there; in all directions, sideways all around, up and down. One feels a “presence”, as though you have been transported to the place you are viewing. The effect is so strong that some people can get disoriented and some may experience dizziness or other discomfort. If that happens, you only need to remove the headset to return to “reality”.  A related technology Augmented Reality, AR, is a technology where digitally created images are placed overlaying and possibly interacting with the actual scene at the user’s location. There are several interesting applications of this but at the present time all DonPWest apps are in the VR category. 

...and search for virtual reality apps and download them to your smartphone. All DonPWest virtual reality apps can be found in the google play store by clicking this... 

 All DonPWest apps are linked in the navigation menu above at the top of the page. The apps are mostly of the nature described above. There are currently a few animated VR DonPWest apps which can provide a kind of dream like hypnotic experience. With VR technology we are in the early stages in more ways than one and the only limit on potential is creativity. 

Companies other than google manufacture their own versions. Most are still made of cardboard but some are plastic or other materials. Some come in kit form and others are pre-made.

Cardboard HMDs are very cheap compared to other virtual reality headsets. 

Google provides the instructions for making your own if desired.

DonPWest Virtual Reality apps and  more

You can get cardboard for five bucks but sometimes you find the cheaper ones don’t have the right focal length in the plastic lenses that are supplied with cardboard. So you might have to try a few to get the right one. I use unofficial cardboard for personal use: 

...or standing on steep double black ski slopes, camping in the Canyonlands wilderness, mountain biking in places that are inaccessible to many people. But you can come with me in VR. At present each app cost 99 cents. Half of net profits will go to Doctors without Borders. 

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...also known as the Krogerata named after the man who created it...

DonPWest VR apps go places where lots of people cannot easily go…for instance hanging on the side of a rock wall: the Telluride Via Ferrata... 

Navigation Menu

PC: Use the menu below and hover & click to choose apps

Mobile: There should be several horizontal parallel lines on your display, usually at the top, touch that

Ultimately, totally immersive VR will be such that you will not be able to tell the difference between the digital experience and reality…..

You’re visiting a friend you haven’t seen for a long time because she lives far away. You both sit down for dinner at the massive thick dark wooden table, with all the rich grain and cracks. You sink into the plush leather covered rustic chairs and pull them closer to the table, dragging heavily against the floor. You laugh and share stories and mutual memories and enjoy the flavorful and aromatic food. After a while you leave the room, the fresh scent of all the wood fills your nostrils, and you go into the kitchen to get something to drink and you hear music playing in the background and you hear your footsteps on the hardwood floors and you hear the fridge door open as you feel the cool metal handle against your hand and the cool air from the fridge against the skin on your face. With your free hand you reach in and grab the beer can and pop it open with a finger and inhale a nice quenching, tasty gulp which instantly satisfies your thirst. You turn and clumsily bump into a heavy chair that makes a deep scratching sound against the floor as you walk toward the expansive view. You lean against the window sill and look out from your vantage point high up on a cliff to see the mountains extending to the sea in the distance, large sharp craggy rocks the size of Manhattan buildings towering out of the water, with waves beating along their rocky shores, white water bubbling up and running down the sides, sailboats on the far horizon; deep blue sky all around with just a few wispy clouds, and for just a brief moment you remember that you are hooked up to your VR sim machine in your New York City apartment. And this scene you are looking at is in Australia, where your friend lives. But they live in a different part of Australia and are not actually here either. This is an interactive VR simulation for both of you. The memory you have of your apartment in New York is like the memory from a dream that you have to work at conjuring in order to visualize it and you push that thought away and go back to sit and talk with your friend because as far as every feeling and perception you have, you are here, in Australia, in your friend’s house. It’s best when you manage to forget that it is an illusion and you push the dream away. You can easily forget that this is an illusion because there is no way you are able to perceive the difference between it and reality except in your memory and it all seems completely real to every sense you have. You are experiencing fully immersive Virtual Reality. There are times when the thought occurs to you: “Isn’t it all an illusion anyway? So what’s the difference? Which reality is the real one? The vague memory of New York or this one, so vivid in every way and in every detail, in front of me now, in whose embrace I feel such a strong presence. ”

We aren’t there yet. We are in the very early stages of VR. But it will move fast.


​What I mean by Virtual Reality apps specifically is that you wear a headset and use your smartphone in conjunction with the headset to interact with the app. The headset is sometimes referred to as a Head Mounted Display or HMD. There are very expensive versions of these headsets. The particular headset DonPWest apps are designed for is called cardboard. Cardboard is a cheap version of an HMD which was created by google to bring VR to everyone.