Daydreamin’ w/ Google
As if Google wasn’t already in the news; Or virtual reality for that matter.
With the merge of new technologies for virtual and augmented reality hitting the markets sooner-rather-than-later, Google has hit the forefront running–debuting their own VR software and headset: Daydream.
Google is not new to pushing technical boundaries. They first debuted their VR technology in 2014, when, like most companies at the time, introduced their own Cardboard immersive headsets.
Daydream will be introducing a new technological jump in the realm of VR. For starters, they put a lot of effort into cracking the “VR sickness” problem.
“You have to minimize motion-to-photon latency,” said Google VR head Clay Bavor at Google I/O.
To do so, Daydream-optimized phones are going to bring this latency below 20 milliseconds.
Google’s first venture into virtual reality began with a sneaky trick.When the company introduced its Cardboard viewer in 2014, it decided to not include a head strap, forcing users to instead hold the viewer up to their faces.
The official statement at the time was that this was done to keep Cardboard comfortable.
That’s partially true.
Having what amounts to a small cardboard box strapped to your face is not a great experience.
But in documents it shared with manufacturers of Cardboard headsets, Google shared a far more technical reason for this design-decision.
According to a design guideline document, when the user holds the Cardboard with their hands against their face, their head rotation speed is limited by the torso rotational speed.
Which is much slower than the neck rotational speed, by reducing ‘VR sickness’ caused by rendering latency and increasing the immersiveness in VR.
That could mean trouble for Samsung, whose $99 Gear VR headset may be similar to the Google headset. While Samsung’s Gear VR is well-reviewed and one of the first headsets on the market, Google’s massive reach could allow the new headset to surpass it.
Unfortunately for iOS users, Daydream will be based on the next version of Android, code-named Android N, and combines high-end mobile phones with custom-built headsets that these phones can be inserted to.
To produce both Daydream-ready phones and accompanying headsets, Google is collaborating with eight different mobile phone manufacturers, including Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei.
There’s no word yet on what Google’s headset and controller will cost.
Screen-less viewers — which require users to insert smartphones inside a headset, instead of having a built-in screen like the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift — are likely to be the most popular and low-cost option in the coming years.