Introduction: Wooden Google Cardboard Used in History Class


I want to make History to be more of an eventful course.

Example of an elaborated goal

Students often have a hard time to empathize history. They weren´t there when the events took place, so they have a hard time imagining what happened. Animated pictures can help with the progress, but still the students far removed from the subject. Students still don´t experience the historical content. I was considering building a time machine, so the students could travel to the historical location and experience the moment in time for themselves. They would use the time machine one by one. There´s a button that will select a random moment in time. The student can enter a date, or maybe I´ll install a rotary button so they can select a moment in history to travel to. When the time traveler leaves the time machine, he isn´t aware of the time frame he has entered. He will be surrounded by historical figures. This historical figures will be enacted by other students. They have revised their roles by heart and enact the historical personages as best as they can. They’re all wearing their constumes and sporting attributes which belong to the specific time frame. The time traveler hasn’t got any idea what’s coming for him. He has to improvise on the spot and think about what to say to this historical figures.The student playing time traveler does have studied all the time frames, so he should be aware of the moral values of these historical persons.

I later realized that it’s really complicated to build a time machine. The time machine had to be big enough to enclose at least one student. I considered a smaller time machine, in which a student had to sit with his knees against his chest, but then I wouldn’t take claustrophobic students into account. Then I thought of a time machine that students could wear like a vest, but then there would be a problem when larger students wouldn’t be able to wear them, something that wouldn’t boost their self-image. After that I came up with the idea to make a helmet that students could wear to travel in time. I thought of a sort of projector that would show pictures into the helmet, so the students could see pictures of all sorts of time frames.

They’ll wear some sort of glasses that is enclosed by a helmet. It isn’t easy to build such a helmet. My teacher came up with the idea to make a virtual reality helmet. It wouldn’t be needed to roleplay in class anymore. Each student will get his/her own VR helmet and will be able to experience history around him/herself right away. I went looking for a VR helmet and stumbled across Google Cardboard. I started to read more about Google Cardboard and discovered that if you use special 3D-lenses, one could create a VR-world around oneself by using a Google Cardboard App. I looked for history apps and they are really there!. Examples are an App showing the tombs of Egypt and a journey to the historical city of Alexandria. This is a good way to make history more eventful for students, because they’ll experience history in a VR world all around them.

I achieved this goal by creating Google Cardboard glasses out of wood. The students have to install the Google Cardboard app on their mobile phones. Then they have to slide their phones into the glasses sideways. Due to the special optical lenses in the glasses, the students will experience an virtual historical environment while looking at their cell phones. There´re numerous apps that offer an vast amount of historical places for the students to visit.


- Wooden board, 3 mm thick, or cardboard 3 mm thick

- Lasercutter

- Illustrator file with google cardboard matrix (1x)

- Computer programme Trotec JobControl

- Computer programme illustrator (1x)

- 3D lenses for google cardboard (2x)

- Glue compatible with wood or cardboard (1x)

- Iron wire (1x)

- Velcro or screws and a visor (velcro 1x), screws (2x), visor (1x)

Step 1: Making History More Eventful for Students Schetch 1

To make history more eventful for students I was considering making a time machine, so the students could travel to other time frames. A schetch featuring such a time machine is shown above.

Step 2: Making History More Eventful for Students Schetch 2

A schetch of a smaller time machine is featured, with a student with raised knees to fit into it.

Step 3: Making History More Eventful for Students Schetch 3

A schetch of a time machine which the students can wear. The suspenders ensure that the machine will stick.

Step 4: Making History More Eventful for Students Schetch 4

A schetch of a helmet as time machine with some sort of click mechanism, so the students can look through various historical pictures. This way they can experience the historical content in a better way.

Step 5: The Idea of Google Cardboard

Pictures and movies of Google Cardboards with smartphones and the idea of a Virtual World.

Step 6: Google Cardboard Template on

I looked for a Google cardboard lay-out on This is an example of an illustrator file: Illustrator is available for download at Adobde. You can download a free trial for 30 days. The printed version of this file serves as a guideline for your lasercutter.

Step 7: Google Cardboard Template in Illustrator

To print the Google cardboard pieces with a lasercutter, you’ll have to do some work in Illustrator first. First of all, you’ll have to ensure that all the measurements are correct. The examplary file in Thingverse has default measurements of 281 mm and 265 mm, which are the ones to use.

Step 8: Coloursettings in Illustrator

The next thing to do is to ensure that the outlines are in the right colours. These need to be completely red to be cutted. You can fix this at the menu ‘Swatches’. Ensure that this is the case. Below a picture is shown of the right settings. The lasercutter only cuts the red lines, that’s why this is so important.The right settings are:

- R: 255

- G: 0

- B: 0

Step 9: Printing the Illustrator File Part 1

To print this file, go to File and then choose Print. First go to Setup and then go to references, select the the right material and enter the measurements. You’ll have to round up.

Step 10: Printing the Illustrator File Part 2

Click on the JC logo. This means you accept. Now go to the program Trotec JobControl and select your file, featured in the right corner.

Step 11: Printing the Illustrator File Part 3

Go to settings and ensure to skip engraving. Choose cutting only. Make sure you select the right settings when you are going to use the lasercutter. Every lasercutter has different settings when it comes to power, speed and passes. Now print your file by clicking ‘Ready’. The lasercutter will start now. In case something’s unclear, check for tutorials on using Illustrator.

Step 12: First Prototype Made of Cardboard

My first prototype is made of cardboard. This cardboard proved to be to rigid for a google cardboard. Corrugated cardboard or wood is better material to make a google cardboard. I acquired this particular cardboard at a special cardboard retailer.

Step 13: Printing the Illustrator File With a Lasercutter

The illustrator file is printed with a lasercutter. The piece of wood can be acquired at a DIY.

Step 14: Wooden Parts of a Google Cardboard Printed With a Lasercutter

Wooden parts of a google ‘cardboard’ printed with a lasercutter shown above.

Step 15: Assembling the Wooden Google Cardboard Part 1

Assembling the wooden google ‘cardboard’ part 1. These to parts are needed to slide the smartphone into the glasses. The inlet is meant as a recess for the nose while looking through the glasses.

Step 16: Assembling the Wooden Google Cardboard Part 2

Assembling the wooden google ‘cardboard’ part 2. These parts are required to slide the smartphone into the glasses. The tail part prevents the phone from falling backwards. The hole in the back is for the camera of the smartphone.

Step 17: Assembling the Wooden Google Cardboard Part 3

Assembling the wooden google ‘cardboard’ part 3. This parts is assembled in between, so the total assembling process will be easier. The vertical part is a supportive piece, holding together the front- and backparts. The other part is the piece that will serve as head support.

Step 18: Assembling the Wooden Google Cardboard Part 4

Assembling the wooden google ‘cardboard’ part 4. On the background the piece of step17 is shown. On the front the piece that will be in front of your eyes is shown.

Step 19: Assembling the Wooden Google Cardboard Part 5

Assembling the wooden google ‘cardboard’ part 5. I’m not putting the sideparts on until the lenses are glued onto my google cardboard.

Step 20: The Wooden Google Cardboard With Lenses

The wooden google ‘cardboard’ with lenses. It’s best to order the lenses online. A good example of a webshop selling lenses is

The protectory rings enclosing the lenses are attached with glue. For more reinforcement you can out iron wire through the holes in the rings.

Step 21: Placing the Sideparts of the Wooden Google Cardboard

Now that the lenses are glued onto the cardboard, the sideparts can be put in place.

Step 22: Putting a Plastic Visor Onto the Wooden Google Cardboard

To prevent the smartphone from falling out of the side of the cardboard, I came up with the idea of putting the plastic visor of this toy helmet onto the cadboard. The visor is attached to the cardboard with metal screws. Every visor will do. As an alternative, one could attach velcro on the side of the cardboard. I bought this toy helmet at .

I choose a new purpose for the visor, because I will use it as a smartphone protector, and by using a knight’s helmet I add a historical feature to the glasses.

Step 23: The Wooden Google Cardboard With a Visor Attached

The end result, the wooden google ‘cardboard’ with lenses and a visor attached.

Step 24: Creating a Virtual World

To create a virtual word, you have to download Google Cardboard App. Search for ‘google cardboard’ in the app store. For more information on Google Cardboard apps, visit .

Step 25: An Example of a Google Cardboard App

An example of a google cardboard App is shown below. This App is named Alexandria VR. The picture shows two screens, one per eye. When looking through the glasses, the screens will appear as one. You’ll need to look up to start the animation. The virtual world will rotate with you when you spin around.

Step 26: The App Alexandria VR Used in History Class

The app Alexandria VR can be used in class. You can instruct your students to look up information on the city of Alexandria. In class, the students use the App and compare the virtual city to the information they’ve found about it.