Almost 30 years before the original Oculus Rift DK1 hit Kickstarter, View-Master was already dabbling in virtual reality—albeit a tamer version—with an electronic viewer that mixed 3D images and audio into what was probably a revolutionary experience back then.
Seen here in an ad dating back to February of 1983, the Electronic Talking View-Master used the same slideshow discs as previous versions of the toy. But they were embedded in a special cartridge alongside a tiny vinyl record that would be played at the same time.
The technology seems downright prehistoric given you can now share HD movies on flash cards that are smaller than a fingernail. But a device small enough to hold in your hands that could show 3D images with audio was a big deal back in 1983. Thankfully, though, Mattel decided to skip the record player technology for the new Google Cardboard-powered View-Master it announced at Toy Fair earlier this year—probably a smart move. [Twitter - RetroNewsNow]
Photo by 20th Century Stereo Viewers