Google launches Daydream VR Development tools

Google has launched its VR platform Daydream for developers and have released the new Google VR SDK. The kit allows developers to build in VR for devices that are ready for Daydream, it also supports integration with Unity and Unreal game engines.

Daydream was revealed during Google I/O and Google stated that it would create its own virtual reality headset for Daydream in the future. Daydream is integrated within Android 7.0, Nougat. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, CNN, and other apps will be available at launch.

During an announcement today on the Google Developers blog, Google announced Daydream is available to all through its developer website. The developer site provides documentation, tutorials, and sample apps to help new developers.

Google also opened up the Daydream Access Program, which allows only members to push their apps to Google Play.

 

Dexta Robotics’ exoskeleton hand the Dexmo

Dexta Robotics is developing next gen technology to allow users to interactive within VR worlds. The company working on an exoskeleton glove called the DexmoGaming.jpg

The technology enables users to interact and bridge the boundaries between VR and reality. It provides force feedback to simulate the action of touching objects in VR. The glove captures hand motion and enables the users to feel the shape, size, and stiffness of the virtual objects, according to the company site. The glove applies inverse force that mimics the objects that are being touched in VR. GraspingRubberDuck (2).JPG

Whats amazing is that users can actually feel the difference between objects from solid objects to soft objects. Dexmo is currently using two Vive controller that are strapped to the users arm and is used for positional tracking.

The company has provided an SDK to allow developers to work with this technology and enhance it.

With the rise of VR and AR new technologies will begin to populate the market to allow users to fully experience these new realities. Its exciting to think what will be available in just two to five years.

The newest features in Android N

The beta for the latest version of Android has been released and here are some of the biggest changes.

Multitasking

MultiTasking

Androids lack of multitasking has been an annoyance considering other companies such as Apple have come out with the ability to multitask, but now with the Android N you finally get multitasking on phones. The split-screen feature works on phones and tablets by holding down the task-switching button. Not all apps are available for split-screen for example Instagram though other work just fine, you can use YouTube and hangouts with no problem.

You can also double tap the task-switching button to open up the most recently used app, Google calls it Quick Switch. You also get the Clear All button located at the top right, so you can close all your apps at once.

Notifications

Notifications

The notifications bar and shading have changed. Icons are much tighter, make better use of space, and offer more functionality such as being able to see more information or expand notifications.You can also control how you can receive alerts from apps in the future by long pressing on each notification. So users can block notifications that are constantly sent out to them. You can also customize the top 5 icons that are shown in the notification bar.

Settings

The settings menu has changed, the first thing you will notice is suggestions at the very top. Suggestions offers settings changes for things you might not have setup such as email linking or voice commands. Each option also gives you relevant information so you don’t need to open up the option, you can see number of apps installed, storage capacity, battery life, and more right from the main menu.

Keyboard Themes

With Android N you also get stock keyboard themes for Google keyboard. You can choose various colors, or add custom backgrounds from your images, and you can add or remove borders between keys. It might not seem like a big update but its pretty fun.

Performance

Android N is adopting a new graphics API called Vulkan, which is used in PC gaming. Vulkan helps deliver better visual performance so you’ll likely notice a change in graphics. Android N also has a new JIT compiler, which Google says will improve battery life. It will make apps 50 percent smaller and increase installation speed by 75 percent.

New Emojis!

EmojisGoogle is updating its set of emoji for Android N. They’ve also proposed including 13 new emoji to represent professional women in the Unicode Consortium.

Virtual Reality

Android N has been built to be completely compatible with Google’s new Android powered VR platform called Daydream. As of now there’s only speculations based off the design specs and information we received from the first day of Google I/O.

Easter Egg

Easter EggGoogle has always traditionally put an Easter egg in the latest releases of Android. These Easter eggs are hidden and can be accessed by tapping the version number of Android in system settings. Android M had a new M logo and a Flappy Bird style game where you try to save a green android from marshmallows and its now followed suit in Android N. Though this is just the beta and a name has not been picked for Android N, Google is looking at you for help in naming it. You can go here #NameAndroidN, and submit your own name, just make sure it starts with the letter N and its sweet and sugary.

Google I/O What to expect

Google I/O is Google’s annual developer conference, a three day conference for developers mto get the latest update from Google on the newest innovations that the company has to offer.

Last year we saw Android M, Android Pay, Google Photos, and Google Cardboard, the company’s VR headset. Here’s what we can expect to see this year.

AI

Lets begin with AI for no other reason than the fact that anyone who is interested in AI has kept up with Google for the past few months. Google has done a lot of work with AI and have persuaded developers to work on their open-sourced AI software. Though the most interesting accomplishment happened when Googles DeepMind AlphaGo AI beat world champion Lee Sedol in one of the most complex games in the world, Go. So it’s not surprising that we might see more innovation from Google on the AI frontier.

Android N 

There’s been a lot of buzz about Android N, the next generation of Google’s smartphone and tablet operating system. Earlier this year in March the company released a developer preview. Android N will have new features such as split-app multitasking, increased battery efficiency, and the ability to reply from within notifications. Like last year we can assume the conference will be heavily influenced by Android N and the latest updates.

Nexus 7

Google recently launched Pixel C, its latest tablet replacement for the Nexus 9. Though it hasn’t had the popularity that Google might have been expecting there have been many rumors that Google would bring back the Nexus 7 tablet.

Chrome OS

Google released its cloud-based operating system seven years go and it has had many mixed reviews, though it’s definitely tilting on the more favorable side for many. We might see new updates to the OS and some integration with Android to create a more single environment.

VR

Its been a big year for reality with so many options from Facebook, Samsung, Sony, and HTC that makes it seem as if Google is falling behind with its Cardboard. Though not to worry as a credible rumor has spread indicating that there will be a new version of Android VR shown at the conference. Which means we might also see more on Project Tango, the experimental augmented-reality software that Google has been working on for some time now.

 

Chirp

It sounds strange at first but when tech website Recode reported last week that Google was designing a competitor to the Amazon Echo code named “Chirp” heads started to turn. Google is already capable of creating advanced virtual assistants and has had made great efforts in voice-recognition, so it makes it all the more likely that Google would create something that it has the ability to create, especially since Google has been developing inside the Internet of Things realm.

Autonomous Cars

In Google I/O 2015 the company announced that its self-driving cars would be driven on California streets. So far there have been great news for self-driving cars, especially Googles’, except for that one incident where an autonomous car crashed into a bus, which was blamed on human error. Google also posted about a potential partnership with Chysler to build autonomous vehicles. We’re sure to see new updates and news for Googles self-driving car.

There are a lot more things to expect from this years Google I/O including Project Tango, Project ARA, Android Wear, Project FI, an update on Nest, and more. Google I/O begins at 10:00 am Pacific Time on Wednesday May 18, don’t miss it! Look out for the app or head over to their official website to watch live streams.

Google might be making a high end VR

Virtual Reality is becoming a thing of the present with many companies including tech giants Microsoft and Facebook coming out with their virtual reality devices. Google also jumped into this market with their Cardboard, though for a company that innovates and creates technology such as self driving cars and enhanced glasses, cardboard seems out of date and almost irrelevant. Which is why it was big news when entrepreneur and tech journalist Peter Rojas tweeted that Google will be announcing Android VR.

 

Rojas also states that Android VR will be less powerful than the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.

Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive cost around $300 and are bulky this is one of the reasons why Cardboard was so popular, you can get one for $15, insert your phone and start using it. In the past Google has spent more efforts in getting developers to produce VR content. The price and the ease of use with the Cardboard is what it seems like Google is following.

Samsung is currently one of the cheapest and best options for Smartphone VRs coming in at $99, though the only problem is that you have to have a Galaxy or Note device to use the Gear VR headset. Though that did not stop the popularity of the VR headset, Samsung had more than one million users on the Gear VR last month.

We’ll have to wait and see at Google I/O just how Google will make an affordable yet powerful VR that can deliver high end optics.

IBM is making a massive multiplayer VR game

Virtual Reality technology is coming in full force from companies like Samsung, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. It is one of the most important emerging technologies in our time.

We’ve seen demonstrations from Facebook’s Oculus Rift, which uses your smartphone as the source device to emulate VR. We have also have Microsoft’s HoloLens, which focuses on augmented reality and holograms to enhance the environment around you. So we know there’s a focus on enhancing everyday life but what about fully functional virtual realms? We’ve been a part of “virtual” realities since the beginning of console games, though they lacked the necessary technology to make you feel like you were actually in that world. Now with VR technology that wall is coming down and IBM is taking a monstrous leap into this new frontier.

IBM is using its Watson Cognitive Computing technology and SoftLayer cloud computing to create a massive multiplayer VR game called Sword Art Online: The Beginning.

If you don’t remember Watson is IBM’s supercomputer built in a cognitive system that uses natural language processing and machine learning. It was developed by IBM’s DeepQA project, led by David Ferrucci, and named after Thomas J. Watson, the first CEO of IBM. As of now Watson has been a question and answer machine but now its taking a giant leap.

The game will allow players to use a 3D scanner to create an avatar, which is then used in the game. It will also be supported on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with alpha testing starting next month with an estimated 208 testers.

Though the full game won’t be available until 2022, it’s still a massive undertaking to create a bridge between our reality and virtual reality. On a positive note players don’t have to worry about getting trapped in this new reality.

 

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