VR Update: Google’s Daydream View Vows To Be The Best Mobile Headset Ever

Google DayDream View

Described as cutting-edge and an incredible piece of the VR puzzle, Google’s Daydream View is eager to surpass the mixed-reality efforts of others.

Daydream View is a virtual reality headset that’s made available on Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform, powered by any Daydream-ready phone (Pixel, Moto Z, Mate 9 Pro, Axon 7, Galaxy S8, and ZenFone AR). The easy-to-sport headset is partnered with a sleek controller that’s designed with both gamers and non-gamers in mind.

According to Google, The inspiration for the wearable design is casual wear. Dressed in breathable fabric, the headset is meant to convey effortless style and comfort. In its many colors (slate, snow, and crimson), the visual set is lightweight, breathable, and the face pad is hand-washable. The device also fits over most eyeglasses.

The controller paired with the headset is imbued with functionality and intuitiveness. It’s been described as a “magic wand, and it aids with seamless interaction in the virtual world, with the same ease one might interact with tangible items in the real world. There are numerous smart sensors installed in the remote, which allows it to track motion and movements. Volume control also sits at the user’s’ fingertips, helping them to experience more at their own measurement.

Google Daydream 2.0 Euphrates, a revision to the standard, allows for users to share what they’re viewing with others, which is made possible by Google’s Chromecast technology. Chromecast or Cast-enabled television can capture and showcase the virtual experience, which can typically be a lonely one. Socializing the virtual experience allows spectators to react to breathtaking graphics and immersive images. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, headsets that are far more expensive, permit this type of sharing with the use of cords connecting to televisions. However, the Google device doesn’t ask that you use cords.

The virtual platform, which is “baked” into a number of recently fashioned Androids, supports the remarkable headset, which is functionally different from Samsung’s Gear VR, thanks to its comfortable frame and its remote/touch pad. It’s these additional features that promise uninterrupted navigation. Daydream View normally costs $79 and it began shipping in early November 2016. Google Daydream 2.0 Euphrates was announced in early 2017.

Google recently acquired Owlchemy Labs, the creator of numerous virtual reality apps, namely Tiltbrush, Google Earth and Job Simulator. While these apps don’t presently work with the Daydream device, they do work with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, this will likely change in the near future.

Google Drives Better Than You

ben sheehy denver colorado google cars drive better than youI recently blogged about Google’s efforts to seek suppliers for their new self-driving cars, which you can find here. Six years since beginning to test their self-driving cars, Google happily claims that they are indeed better drivers than your average human motorist. In those six years, Google’s fleet of 20+ self-driving vehicles have had 11 accidents, all of which Google says were caused by nothing more than human error and not the autonomous vehicles.

Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car program, calls the 11 accidents minor, involving a few dents and scratches and notes that not once during any of those collisions was a Google car responsible. Instead, many of the accidents were caused by other nearby drivers who have crashed into Google’s cars from behind at traffic lights, side-swiped or hit some of the cars by not following the rules of the road. Most of the accidents occurred on city streets rather than freeways, which should come as a relief and a surprise to people who feared how an autonomous car would perform in fast-moving traffic.

So what makes Google’s autonomous car algorithm a better driver than the rest of us? According to Urmson, it all comes down to how much attention we put on the road versus how much attention a machine puts on the road and everything else around it. Humans are easily and often distracted; Urmson cites statistics that indicate that at any given moment, there are 660,000 people distracted behind the wheel either by checking their devices or other distractions. Currently, Google’s self-driving cars have a safety-driver, a human that is present in case anything does go wrong on the part of the car, and those drivers have witnessed other drivers doing rather strange and very distracting things while on the road. Reading books is a common one, but so is playing a trumpet apparently.

Google’s cars will not be reading books or playing trumpets while rolling down a city street. Instead, the latest sensors on Google’s cars come with 360 degree visibility and 100% attention on the road in all directions at all times. They can also track vehicles, pedestrians and cyclist from a distance of close to two football fields. Looks like they have us humans beat there.

The Next Version of Google Glass

ben sheehy google glass servicenow tech blogGoogle Glass has not taken off like other products and services provided by Google, but that doesn’t mean they are done with it. We still see the occasional person wearing the Google Glass, but what is next?

According to TechCrunch, Google is currently working on their next version of Glass. The new version is reported to have replaced Texas Instruments for Intel. The first version of Glass had a few things that could be improved on such as longer battery life and a less bulky case. Additionally, the first device looked incredibly, as some would say, “nerdy,” or like something from the future. It is possible they would be more popular if the style were more current, or if it looked like an everyday device.

The first update since the creation of Google Glass was to make the system compatible with prescription lenses and the second update doubled the amount of RAM. While we do not know much about other updates, we do know that Glass is reported to be powered by an unknown Intel chipset. This is the first significant update to the product since 2012.

Intel has recently made moves to join the wearable, mobile chipset market, which it had been resisting previously. At last year’s International CES, Intel revealed their mobile goals and showed some wearable computing devices as demos. Later they announced the MICA, a refined, niche wearable computer. The idea of the MICA is that it is a non-computer looking computer. MICA stands for My Intelligent Communications Accessory. You can find more about this computer bracelet here. If Intel is creating the mobile chip that powers the next Google Glass, that would be a huge win for Intel, improving their reputation.