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Google, Mattel try to bring View-Master into 21st century

This undated photo provided by Mattel shows an updated View-Master. Mattel and Google are trying to bring the 75-year-old View-Master into the 21st

NEW YORK — Mattel and Google are trying to bring the 75-year-old View-Master into the 21st century — with help from smartphones and virtual reality technology.

The original View-Masters gave people a chance to click through colorful photos by inserting reels into the viewing devices.

Targeted at families, the updated View-Master has users insert a smartphone into a headset. A smartphone app will enable the gadget to immerse kids in a slew of virtual worlds. The new View-Masters will be priced at about $30.

Mattel and Google unveiled the unfinished virtual reality viewer Friday and plan a fall debut on Android devices. But Mattel demonstrated the technology using Google Cardboard, an attachment that turns smartphones into virtual reality viewers. Reels won’t be necessary for the new View-Master, but they will enhance the experience. In a demo, there were reels for San Francisco, outer space and dinosaurs. Pointing your headset at one and clicking a button took you into each of the worlds.

The original View-Master launched in 1939. Mattel says it has sold more than 100 million of them.

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