The future vision of Google’s VR technology might not need a simple cardboard box and a phone at all. The search giant is trying to make the VR experience self-sufficient, a feat which no other tech company has managed to accomplish yet.
Google is working on a stand-alone headset that will be the first of its kind not to need a smartphone, laptop, or gaming console for power. When most of the tech giants like Facebook, HTC, and Samsung are jostling to bring the innovative and nascent technology to the masses, the new approach on which Google is working is a novel one, and it can completely change the entire VR game.
Facebook’s VR headset Oculus will be available at a price of $599 and can be powered by a PC. Similarly, HTC and Samsung’s VR headsets also require a gaming console or a laptop to power up. Google’s VR headset, on the other hand, will reportedly have an outward facing camera, a stand-alone screen, and a high power processor with specialized chips designed by Movidius, a San Mateo, California-based startup that specializes in machine vision.
Although Google’s spokesperson is refusing to make a comment on the matter, despite their efforts to keep the issue heavily cloaked, Movidius has stated that they are in a working relationship with the tech giant.
Most of the companies that are offering VR tech are thinking about the diversity of options the technology can offer. From taking a tour of the world’s famous museums, to taking a walk in the Alps, to visiting a digital dental office, everything is possible through virtual reality.
Google’s attempts to introduce something new to the consumer market shows that it’s taking virtual reality seriously. Not only that, they have dedicated an entire department to VR technology and have put vice president Clay Bavor at its head, who has a vast experience of being in charge of Google apps. According to reports, Google has cleared all his other responsibilities, encouraging him to focus primarily on the VR department.
The advancement into virtual reality is a far cry from Google’s Cardboard that was a straight-forward, made-of-paper headset that used a smartphone to power up. Google has recently announced that it will be releasing a similar product, with a plastic structure, which is embedded with chips and sensors.
A new device by Google could help them venture into the position tracking field, something which is missing from the current design. Although the current VR headsets let you move your head across the room, they still aren’t able to track your position. If the reports are true, and Google really is building a model in which the cameras are placed outside the headset, then it would be able to sense the depth and position of the user with ease.
Cameras would also help the device map the room like a 3D structure that will allow users to walk in the virtual reality world without the fear of hitting a wall. An optimized device would also pave the way for a smoother and more immersive viewing experience. It is one of the most important steps towards building a next generation VR application and hardware that will open the doors for an entirely new innovative industry.