Google I/O 2016: Google confirms it will build own VR headset

(c) McComber

Google has made more VR announcements at day two of its IO conference in California.

Delving deeper into yesterday’s Daydream announcement, Google said as well as providing reference designs to others, they would build a headset and controller themselves.

Another exciting announcement was that they’re building a cinema grade Jump camera with IMAX. Last year, it partnered with GoPro to build the Odyssey camera, which consists of 16 GoPros to create an omnidirectional view.

It also hinted at future announcements about Daydream and Project Tango, its 3D mapping project.

“Looking ahead, it’s exciting to think where we’ll be in the near future with Daydream. Project Tango and Daydream are part of the same team at Google and we are in the same building. I’ll let you extrapolate from there, but we’re pretty excited as to what’s ahead,” Google said.

There are 17 sessions over the next few days of the conference around its Daydream VR platform to fill developers in on all aspects, from features to monetisation.

Google also spoke about why VR was important to it. It showcased a VR experience it shows to first-time users of the technology; a VR video of a pool in which the person is transported to the top of a tall diving board and asked to step off.

“People immediately lower their centre of gravity. Some reach for handrailing that’s not there. We ask people to walk over and step off… and most people can’t.

“What’s happening here? It’s presence. This is the VR jargon for that feeling when you think you’re really somewhere else. It happens when all senses - sound, how you’re moving, your body - all line up and agree and you brain says ‘yep, I’m there!’

"We think VR has the potential to connect people with experiential information in a profound way. We want to bring VR to everyone," Google VR lead Clay Bavor said.

Epic Games, which has been working in partnership with Google, joined them on stage to showcase a game it had been working on with Google. “We’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible," they said, lauding the controller as being central to the fully immersive experience.

Developers can use Daydream right now, with Unreal Engine immediately and a Unity plugin coming in summer.

Google also gave us a look at Daydream’s ‘home’ and Google Play for Daydream as well as the VR version of YouTube, which is also working on VR video creation tools. Daydream Labs was another announcement, where they will start sharing experiments and lessons learned.


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