Google’s Cardboard VR Gets Serious

Anything Facebook can do, Google can do better -- or can it? After failing to overtake Facebook in the social media realm, Google is now going after the virtual reality market.

Dubbed Cardboard, Google is hyping a virtual reality viewer that consists of a smartphone and some cardboard. The company first announced the concept at its I/O Conference in June. Today, there are more than a half-million Cardboard viewers in the hands of consumers, and Google is rolling out a new round of updates for users, developers and makers.

Here's how it works: You take Cardboard, put your smartphone in it, fold it and look inside. That lets you explore a variety of apps that range from test drives to fully immersive games to live concerts.

Chair in the Room, for example, casts a dim light around you and its flickering provides the only sound in the room. The Paul McCartney app lets you experience the musical legend in 360 degrees. Tuscany Drive, meanwhile, lets you explore the beauty of that Italian region.

New Cardboard Tools

"If you've ever tried creating a VR application, then you've probably wrestled with issues like lens distortion correction, head tracking, and side-by-side rendering," said Andrew Nartker, product manager for Google Cardboard, writing on Google's Developers Blog. "It's important to get these things right, but they can suck up all your time -- time you'd rather spend on game play or graphics."

Google introduced Cardboard SDKs for Android and the Unity game-development engine to simplify common VR development tasks. Google is also publishing new building specs with specific cutting tools in mind. The company has promised to add a viewer calibration tool early next year to the Cardboard SDK so developers can define their viewer's base and focal length, for example, then have every Cardboard app adjust accordingly.

"The growth of...

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Google’s Cardboard VR Gets Serious

Anything Facebook can do, Google can do better -- or can it? After failing to overtake Facebook in the social media realm, Google is now going after the virtual reality market.

Dubbed Cardboard, Google is hyping a virtual reality viewer that consists of a smartphone and some cardboard. The company first announced the concept at its I/O Conference in June. Today, there are more than a half-million Cardboard viewers in the hands of consumers, and Google is rolling out a new round of updates for users, developers and makers.

Here's how it works: You take Cardboard, put your smartphone in it, fold it and look inside. That lets you explore a variety of apps that range from test drives to fully immersive games to live concerts.

Chair in the Room, for example, casts a dim light around you and its flickering provides the only sound in the room. The Paul McCartney app lets you experience the musical legend in 360 degrees. Tuscany Drive, meanwhile, lets you explore the beauty of that Italian region.

New Cardboard Tools

"If you've ever tried creating a VR application, then you've probably wrestled with issues like lens distortion correction, head tracking, and side-by-side rendering," said Andrew Nartker, product manager for Google Cardboard, writing on Google's Developers Blog. "It's important to get these things right, but they can suck up all your time -- time you'd rather spend on game play or graphics."

Google introduced Cardboard SDKs for Android and the Unity game-development engine to simplify common VR development tasks. Google is also publishing new building specs with specific cutting tools in mind. The company has promised to add a viewer calibration tool early next year to the Cardboard SDK so developers can define their viewer's base and focal length, for example, then have every Cardboard app adjust accordingly.

"The growth of...

Comments are closed.