Clay Bavor, Vice President of Virtual Reality at Google, introduced to us yesterday the very first glimpse into their standalone VR headsets partnering up with HTC Vive, Lenovo, and Qualcomm. Google has created a new technology called WorldSense, which is similar to how inside-out tracking works.
Today, Clay Bavor and the VR team delivered some exciting news starting off with his thoughts on the technology. Bavor believes that VR and AR fall under one umbrella called the “Spectrum of immersive computing.” Instead of separating the two technologies, Bavor believes that they conjoin through the process of computer generation.
After this bit of news by Clay Bavor he quickly introduced to the stage Johnny Lee, Director of engineering for Tango. Lee covered some of the updates made to the Tango project which uses AR technology to advance the immersive computing spectrum for the company. An example he portrayed was how this new AR platform by Google can help users in their daily lives.
Additionally, Mike Jazayeri, Director of Product Manager, Daydream, joined the stage to provide more updates about the Daydream platform. To start off Jazayeri referenced the point about how LG and Samsung smartphones will be Daydream ready in the near future. This, in turn, will allow tens of millions of users to have access to the Daydream platform. Jazayeri also mentioned that the stadalone VR headsets will be coming at the end of the year.
He then went into how Daydream will be upgraded to further enhance the user experience. The software will update to Daydream 2.0 Euphrates where you’ll see many enhancements. To start, you’ll see software support for standalone headsets powered by Android O. This new operating system will run entire experiences in VR.
The Daydream team will also be making VR content front and center. They’ve laid out a new foundation on the dashboard which will allow you to have continuous list of regularly updated content making it easier for you to navigate and jump into a VR experience. There’s also a new feature within the Daydream platform which will allow you to pull up a dashboard to see updated statuses and content without having to exit the Daydream VR platform.
Jazayeri also announced that Daydream will have Google Cast support which will allow you to pull up a dashboard and select a casting destination. “It changes the VR experience from an individual experience to a shared experience,” said Jazayeri. “To help you share your favorite moments in VR, we’re also adding the ability to capture screenshot or short video of your Daydream experience to share it on your favorite social media or messaging app.”
In addition to this, there are a lot more updates to the Daydream software including: Tracking & Input, Graphics, Performance, User Interface, and Audio. The Daydream will have Unity and Unreal Engine support.
After, Erin Teague who is the Product Manager for YouTube VR joined the stage to shed light on their latest update. The YouTube team believes that shared experiences are something of importance for users. And so, Teague unveiled a new up and coming feature where you’ll be able to watch 360 YouTube videos with your friends. Everyone will be able to customize their avatars and enjoy watching these immersive videos together.
Next to join the stage was Andrey Doronichev who is the Director of Product Management at Daydream. He focuses on the developer tools to help people create amazing experiences for the platform. “To build great stuff you need great tools,” Doronichev said. “So today I want to tell you about 3 new tools.”
Doronichev talked on the topics of Faster Iteration, High-Fidelity Graphics, and Immersive Web. To improve speed and performance for the Daydream platform, the team developed something called “Instant Preview.” It’s a tool that lets you make changes in your desktop and instantly see it on your mobile VR device. Instant Preview is deeply integrated in the editor and mobile device. They send the sensor data from the headset and controller to the PC which emulates and renders the scene. The result is sent back to the device as a stereo video stream. This is done with low latency as well. This will allow developers to have an uninterrupted flow. Instant Preview is launching today for both Unity and Unreal Engine.
To improve High-Fidelity Graphics on the Daydream platform, the team is launching a new tool called Seurat. “With this tool you can take a high-fidelity scene and run it mobile VR in real time,” said Doronichev. It works by defining the volume within which you want the user to move around and view the scene. You also define target parameters by the number of polygons. Then the tool will take dozens of images from different parts of the defined volume which will generate an entirely new 3D scene which looks identical to the original but dramatically simplified. You can also have dynamic elements in it.
A company that recently used Seurat was ILMxLAB who creates amazing storytelling experiences. They’ve recently worked on delivering an immersive Star Wars: Rogue One VR experience to the Daydream platform and used the new technology to enhance the details to the story. And to put it lightly, the company was highly impressed on the delivery of Seurat. It allowed their studio to create unbelievable content full of details for all the Star Wars fans out there. You might be wondering, “How impressive is Seurat?” Well, according to the Google team, Seurat can render 50 million triangles and 3 gigabytes of textures in 13 milliseconds per frame on a mobile GPU. And this will be the technology used on the upcoming standalone VR headsets with 6DoF. “And it looks good as the original,” Doronichev stated. Seurat already supports Unity and Unreal.
The Daydream team also wants to improve the Immersive Web platform. And to do this, Google will be bringing the full chrome brower into VR. “You’ll be able to use the Daydream controller to navigate any regular web page and follow links. And for web VR experiences you just get transported into fully immersive worlds. And of course you’ll be able to watch any web video in a theater like environment with a large screen,” said Doronichev. Your history, bookmarks, and tabs will be there as well if you log in using the same account. Chrome for VR and AR will be coming later this year.