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January 15, 2017

The Grand Virtual Reality Experiment-VR Catheter Lab Cont.

Virtual Reality Cath Lab - YouTube 360 Video and Cardboard VR

Cardboard VR is an obvious choice for initial exploration of the Virtual Reality environment. A platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone and named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, the platform was created as a low-cost system to stimulate interest and development of Virtual Reality applications. Cardboard VR ports to both Android and iOS platforms.

Virtual Reality Cardboard ViewerBasic cardboard VR, whether a still image or animation is limited to rotational movement, i.e, the viewer can turn his or hers head/body 360 degrees. The camera or viewer point in space is set in or near the center of a 360 degree environment. Translation or movement throught 3D environment is not possible. The viewer can rotate his or head 360 degrees to experience a total environment.

One can argue that content that does not allow translation in 3D space is not a true VR experience. However, being able to view a complex 3D scene normally viewed as either a static image or a linear animation in a space that now allows 360 stereoscopic views is a far more compelling experience than traditional flat 2D imagery. It allows content creators to expand their visualization capabilities using 3D content previously limited to 2D imagery. That content can now be delivered more dynamically on a wider range of devices.


Virtual Reality Cath Lab - YouTube 360 Video

One of the main delivery mechanisms of VR animation and still images is YouTube. With an account on YouTube a user can simply upload their content to their YouTube page and send out links for viewing. The video can be viewed directly on a phone without a viewer, or on a tablet or computer as a 360 degree experience without the stereoscopic feel.
Placing either the iPhone in a cardboard viewer or an Android in a compatible viewer such as a Speck viewer activates the stereoscopic experience.Virtual Reality speck viewer


Virtual Reality Cath Lab - Cardboard VR

One of the main complaints of Cardboard VR is softness of the image. There are a number of reasons for soft display, foremost being the resolution of the images displayed. The screen resolution of a Samsung Galaxy s6 is 2560 x 1440 and the iPhone 6 1334 x 750. While these seem adequate to display high resolution images, especially the Samsung, there is more to the equation. With the Samsung phone, each eye is seeing a 1280 x 1440 image based on the screen resolution. In reality the viewer is looking at a field of view resolution which is only a portion of the 360 degree view, specifically 96 degrees which translates to a 1024 pixel square, significantly smaller than the phone display. The software has to stretch the video image to map to the field of view crop in the display resolution-hence soft images. The second reason is .mp4 compression the image undergoes when streamed to the phone. This compression is unavoidable.


Virtual Reality Stereoscopic View

Stereoscopic View




Virtual Reality Field of View
Field of View on the Display Screen at 1024x1024 pixels

Virtual Reality Cath Lab - YouTube 360 Video and Cardboard VR



  • Handles animation and still images and limited interactivity
  • Photorealistic Imagery from state of the art rendering engines
  • Easy to deploy
  • Inexpensive viewer


  • Image softness due to issues of resolution and streaming compression
  • Only supports rotational 3d movement, not translation
  • Simulation sickness
  • Hardware limitations such as low processing power, internal memory, outdated processors and poor quality displays

We feel that YouTube 360 Video and Cardboard VR is an excellent entry point into the captivating world of virtual reality. Animations that up until recently were simple flat points of view now have the capacity to encircle the viewer in true 3D space. The medium harnesses the power of Hollywood quality animation and special effects. Product visualization, mechanical and medical procedures become more relevant in their native 3D environment. Layouts of environment spaces can be critically visualized. Cardboard VR can be a valuable addition to didactic training, augmenting traditional page turning education with immersive experiences that take the user out of the pages of a web browser or tablet.
Finally, the medium is a valuable launch point to more immersive virtual realities such as Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Coming next: Gear VR


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