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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Use Google Cardboard if Your Phone Doesn't Have a Gyroscope

Many midrange phones are being manufactured without a gyroscope sensor—the Moto X Playthird-generation Moto G, and several of Samsung's Galaxy Grandmodels, among others. It's not exactly an essential smartphone sensor, and leaving this out keeps the phone's price point down, so it's an understandable omission.
But most Google Cardboard apps refuse to run if your phone does not have a gyroscope. And it's not just Google Cardboard apps—several other fun features, like the Photo Sphere mode in Google Camera, rely on a gyroscope as well.
So developer Frazew created an Xposed module that uses the other sensors in your device to simulate gyroscope data. It combines the readings from your compass and accelerometer to create a virtual gyroscope of sorts, then fools apps into thinking that this data is coming from a real gyroscope sensor. Once installed, it's a seamless experience, so we can finally enjoy mobile VR with a device that doesn't support it natively.
One quick thing to mention: this module does not yet work for tricking AR (augmented reality) mode in Pokémon GO, but the devs are working hard on figuring out a solution, so stay tuned.


  • rooted Android device
  • Xposed Framework installed
  • "Unknown sources" enabled

Step 1Install VirtualSensor

To start, head to the Download section in your Xposed Installer app and search forVirtualSensor, then tap the top result. From here, swipe over to the Versions tab, then hit the "Download" button next to the most recent entry. Within a few seconds, Android's installer interface should come up, so tap "Install" on this screen.
When that's finished, make sure to activate the module and reboot, then you'll be all set to try some Google Cardboard apps or other apps you've been wanting to use that need a gyroscope.

Step 2Use Google Cardboard or Other Gyro-Based Features

When you get back up, no further setup is needed—from now on, the vast majority of apps will simply think your phone has a gyroscope. One minor downside is that the simulated gyroscope data can lead to a little shakiness on occasion, but most VR apps will work just fine.
If you'd like, you can open the VirtualSensor app from your app drawer to see a live feed of the data being simulated, which is pretty interesting. However, the first thing you'll probably want to do is install some Cardboard-compatible apps to test out the new functionality. For a good starting point on that, check out the link below for a list of our favorite Google Cardboard apps.
Google's "Cardboard" app running without issue.
If you don't have a Google Cardboard headset, or other VR headset, you can test out your newfound gyroscope properties by taking a Photo Sphere with your Google Camera, or by playing any video game from the Play Store with gyroscopic features. Like mentioned before, this module does not yet work with AR mode in Pokémon GO, but we'll keep you updated if they ever get it working.
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