Thursday, May 18, 2017

Inside Google’s Slow-Mo Virtual Reality Moonshot – Backchannel

Excerpt from a Steven Levy tour of Google's VR/AR activities; also see Virtual and Augmented Realities: Asking the right questions and traveling the path ahead (Clay Bavor on Medium)

"To get to ubiquity, Bavor says, Google and others need to reduce the friction of setup and using VR, improve the core technology, and broaden the set of experiences that developers can create. Certainly the standalone headset will reduce the hassle of using your phone as a VR device. “You don’t need another phone, you don’t need a PC, you don’t need to plug it into anything,” he told me in an early preview. “Everything that you need for VR is contained in the headset itself.” Because the new device doesn’t have to strap a phone to the visor, the weight is distributed more evenly, and it feels more comfortable. To be blunt about it, it’s a pain to repurpose your phone as the VR engine for an uncomfortable headset. The standalone device puts you into VR with the touch of a button.
When I tested it out at Google HQ — in a clunkier version than the upcoming commercial units — I found it a much smoother experience than the Daydream viewer or the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear. The secret, says Bavor, is what Google calls “WorldSense”—a means to track head movements with low latency that not only allows flexibility in what you see, but also lets you move around in a virtual scene."
Inside Google’s Slow-Mo Virtual Reality Moonshot – Backchannel

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