Google launched the Daydream View headset late last year, the company’s first virtual reality hardware product. As a smartphone clip-in headset, the View is a relatively simple device which leaves the bulk of the work up to the host smartphone. A slew of recent job postings however suggest significant new AR/VR hardware in the works from Google.

Last time we checked in on Google’s job listings, the company was seeking a number of new hardware related positions, including an Electrical Engineer for the company’s AR/VR team who could “Lead electrical hardware development for consumer electronic products from concept into production,” and had “experience supporting high-volume overseas manufacturing builds.”

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A number of new job listings in the last month and a half point to continued ramping up of an internal team to support new hardware initiatives. While the prior job listings seemed to focus on deep engineering work for a new AR/VR product (or products), the latest listings paint a picture of a product ready to make the jump from the R&D phase to a consumer device.

In the last two days the company has begun seeking a Technical Lead Product Design Engineer, as well as a Hardware Validation Manager for the company’s AR/VR initiatives.

The listing for the former seeks a candidate who can “define new architectures for virtual reality products while collaborating with [industrial design] and human factors teams,” and can “travel as needed to […] manufacturing facilities overseas.”

For the latter, the company is looking for someone who can “develop and manage a team that is responsible for overall hardware system validation and quality optimization of Wearable and Virtual/Augmented Reality hardware products” and can “work with internal test engineers, partner engineers, and contract manufacturer on transitioning product to mass production, and assist with product sustaining efforts.”

The company’s first VR headset, Daydream View, is a rather simple device that consists of little more than a housing, a pair of lenses, an NFC chip, and a simple controller (the headset itself doesn’t even need power!). If that’s already out the door, what’s all this new hardware talent for?

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One guess is a more significant piece of hardware in the form of an ‘all-in-one’ VR headset, something which has been rumored to be in the works for some time now. Rather than snapping a phone into a shell, an all-in-one headset would have everything necessary on-board, including computing hardware and battery banks. A device like this would ideally employ inside-out positional tracking, in which Google has significant background thanks to their ‘Tango’ initiative, though that tech hasn’t yet been merged with the VR end of things.

An all-in-one VR headset could have several major advantages over a smartphone based VR headset, specifically when it comes to thermal envelope, computing power, display, and ergonomics. Price, however, is a likely limiting factor.

It’s also possible that the new device might not be an all-in-one VR headset, but could be closer to a smartphone shell except with more substantial on-board hardware, like additional sensors that could add things like hand-tracking and positional tracking, while the snap-in smartphone would continue to be the brains of the operation.

Another reasonable guess would be the next generation of Google Glass, which the company has teased since at least as far back as 2015.

Whatever Google is working on, it’s clear that the company’s talent in AR/VR hardware has been expanding rapidly as of late, likely alongside its ambitions in this industry.

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  • MosBen

    I wonder why there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of HMDs that have all of the sensors, screens, etc. which is then connected via a wired connection to a battery pack/CPU unit that clips to a user’s belt, or goes in a small waist-belt. It solves the thermal problems for the HMD by putting all of the heat creating things on the user’s waist. The CPU could be upgraded rather easily by detaching it from the HMD, which would allow the user to keep the HMD instead of throwing it out when more powerful processing hardware is available, as they would have to do in an all-in-one. Wireless seems to be hard to do well, so just skip it for now. People are used to carrying phones everywhere. A slightly larger device that powers an HMD wouldn’t be cumbersome.

    I know that early Hololens used a belt-based CPU, but they were bound and determined to make Hololens completely self-contained. While I guess that makes sense if you see the product as something that people will use all day, every day, like their cell phones. But if we recognize that VR isn’t there quite yet, this gets us closer to that form factor while still allowing for better VR without being connected to a desktop PC.

    • lovethetech

      50% of human beings don’t wear& will not wear belts. Women.

      Remaining 50% males, 90% will hate wearing it.

      • Foreign Devil

        either wear a belt/backpack . . or wear an overly bulky HMD. . or be thethered to a PC. . pretty much the choices today.

      • Rogue Transfer

        Women wear belts. Also, remember the popularity of the Fanny Pack with women in particular? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_pack

        • lovethetech

          Number of women in world does not = number of women in USA.

      • Caven

        Over 99% of humans don’t use VR. I guess VR must be dead in the water then, all on the basis of a random statistic that manages to have more basis in reality than your random numbers.

      • Arlene Green

        Right. I guess you weren’t around in the 70s and 80s? Everyone wore belts then. And women still do. Trust me on this.

        • lovethetech

          It is not 100%. Number of women in world does not = number of women in USA or women in western countries.

      • MosBen

        As others have pointed out, women wear belts. But you do realize that this doesn’t need to clip on to a belt that you’re already wearing, right? It could come with it’s own elastic band that you put around your waist when you want to play.

      • NooYawker

        Where do you live that you have this observation?

    • DonGateley

      May I suggest instead that anything external be wrist/arm worn rather than belt worn. It can be reasonably large that way and if its so big that that won’t work it’s too big.

      • MosBen

        I disagree. Something that weighs a pound or two would hardly be noticed on a waistband/belt/pants clip, but after several minutes of waving your arms around in VR most people will notice. Maybe it won’t be bad enough force them to quit, but they’ll notice the weight in a way that they wouldn’t on their hips. Also, a tether down the back of the head to the belt area is less likely to be caught on things than a cord running from your head to your arms, which will move a lot. Thinking about how many times I’ve pulled earbuds out of my ears while working out tells me that this won’t work. I just can’t think of any way that strapping it to your arm makes it better than strapping it to your waist.

    • John G

      Most of the heat creating things already are not in the HMD. The HMD itself gets hot due to the backlighting and video display; that you aren’t going to move to a belt really. It also gets hot due to the human skin in a closed environment. Think how warm your phone gets when it runs the display for any period of time. The HMD is basically a cell phone in your face plus some lenses.

      Regarding a self contained system, look at the size of a GTX 1080. That’s where most of the processing occurs, not in the HMD itself. There are plans for VR backpacks, but they don’t move anything off of the HMD, just give you a high end gaming PC in a backpack.

      The video processing that would be possible in something that would fit in a marsupial pouch :) wouldn’t compete well with a full length high end gamer video card. You’d get much lower frame rates, or much lower overall processing.

      Eventually, if Moore’s “law” holds out, sure, but there will always be a faster, higher end bigger machine until we hit more than 400 megapixels rendering capability in a cell phone processor (after all, the eye might be 324 megapixels, but you can rotate it for a wider field of view). See http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/eye-resolution.html

      • MosBen

        I think that we may have been thinking about this in different ways. You seem to be coming at this from the perspective of PC-based VR, while I’m thinking about mobile-based VR. With a GearVR a fair amount of the heat produced, which can be significant, is related to your phone working on to process the data. Moving all of the non-display bits to your hip would, I would think, remove a fair amount of heat from that equation while also allowing for greater processing power than we’ve seen from phone-based VR. No, you won’t get anything as powerful as a top of the line PC, but for a self-contained system with no tether, I don’t think that you actually need that much horsepower.

        • John G

          Well, that’s not really an HMD then, but I got you. Correct, if it’s a mobile based VR, then yes, a lot of the heat is from the processing. However, if you look at the VR apps on a mobile and compare that to a fully blown desktop rig … you’re running much, much slower. The number of draw calls with Mobile VR is a minimum of 6x slower. The graphics just don’t compare. You do need that much horsepower, if you want a reasonable VR experience. 90FPS at current resolutions takes a lot of processing power. I GUESS you could get something like this to work now, if you were able to connect OSVR via HDMI to your mobile rig. That might work. Put your cell in your waist pocket and just use the OSVR as a display device.

          • MosBen

            A mobile display, mounted upon your head, is most definitely a Head Mounted Display. There’s an important distinction between a mobile HMD vs a tethered or PC-based HMD, but both are HMDs.

            One of the most important concepts that Oculus talked about early on is “presence”, tricking your brain into the feeling of “being there” in VR. And what they found is that graphical fidelity is much less important to creating presence than many people think. While mobile VR has some advancements that need to be made to increase presence, it’s not really in the graphics department. Positional head and hand tracking would go much further to creating presence than upgrading the graphics. But one of the benefits of having a breakout box clipped to your hip would be more available horsepower than what you get in a phone.

          • John G

            I’ve noticed (sadly) that almost no one is using the word “HMD” anymore, they seem to be called “VR Goggles” now. What I meant by ‘not an HMD’ was really it’s a full ‘Head Mounted PC’ but didn’t feel like making up a new acronym. heh. Agreed about tracking, it’s why I bought a Vive.

          • You are closer to what is being done than you know. :)

            The problem is the OSVR headset itself. Too heavy and bulky, but great to work with in prototype form, especially the 1.4 with its frame buffer. Makes it very easy to send VR content without having rewrite the kernel to change the screen orientation. But see my other post elsewhere. I think what is coming the end of the year will be a great sweet spot in mobile performance. Not quite gamer laptop performance, but hell of lot smaller :)

        • Tony Murchison

          But the entire point of things like GearVR is that you basically only need a phone, thereby keeping the costs down. In this case, you’d need to pay more than the price of a high-end mobile phone for a VR-exclusive device. I think that there just isn’t much of a market for such a middle-of-the-road segment between cheap mobile VR and powerful high-end VR.

      • There is no backlighting with AMOLED and most of the heat dissipation in HMD is due to the driver & ancillary chips for HDMI-MIPI conversion, IMU , USB controllers and dedicated processor for handling positional tracking cameras or emitters.

        Moore’s law is actually been slowing down and even though a great GPU is needed, CPUs with enough muscle are also required to handle other features like positional tracking computation, interaction, controllers and physics.

        Also, the number pixels required is highly dependent on what you are focused on and the positioning of the eye. This is why Magic Leap and others are working so hard to create eye tracking solutions and layered levels of focus, with algorithms to ensure you have a high pixel density where you need it. The trade off is processing to compute these synthetic light fields.

    • I agree and hopefully by the end of the year you will see something like this from someone I know. So many design issues are alleviated when thinking in this manner. If you can get people wear a scuba mask type device out the water with wires hanging out of it, you definitely can get people to clip a small unit to their belt or pants. This is what Magic Leap intended, and it appears they too are looking at the same SOC this other company is looking at as well. In fact this makes so much sense because of the new 2Kx2K AMOLED screens that are little over inch diagonally that can be literally attached to lens in glass or goggle type frame. This will keep the weight, size and heat to a minimum and allow a bigger battery and heat dissipation system to allow for higher clock rates. Call me a nerd, but I can’t see this being any worse that your smartphone or pager clipped to built. Plus once your are in the metaverse, who cares what you look like to rest of the world – right?

  • von Trapp

    Uh. Google owns Magic Leap

    • benz145

      Google is one investor of many in Magic Leap.

      • von Trapp

        Sundar is named on the lease of the Fort Lauderdale offices. And is on the board. And the lead seed investor was Scott Hassan. Yessir.

        • user

          why is scott hassan relevant?

          google owns at most 30% of magic leap by my estimate.

    • Joshua Phillips

      google does not own Magic Leap

      • von Trapp

        Uh. Yes it does. Pretty much. Sundar is named on the lease of the Fort Lauderdale offices. And is on the board. And the lead seed investor was Scott Hassan. Yessir.

        • Joshua Phillips

          truel, however they dont have majority share, so, back to my point, Google does not own Magic Leap

  • Snsbsksnsbbsbsbbe

    Wireless tech is getting so good you don’t need any processing on the HMD. It’ll be like ski goggles.

  • DonGateley

    I just wish they’d release a larger version of their Daydream View cloth headset. My 5.5″ (screen size) Axon 7 is too large for it and most of its screen is outside visibility with the one they sell now.

    Are you sure the Daydream View has an NFC chip in it? The apps don’t seem to care whether the phone is in it or not. Anyone got a counterexample?

    • Scot Cerullo

      The headset does have an NFC chip, and it (not the apps) responds to the placement of the phone. Hope that helps…:)

      • DonGateley

        Thanks, Scott, but I’m not sure what that means. The Daydream View itself being passive, any observable effects would have to be shown by the phone itself and I can’t find any effect that it has on the phone when it is in that HMD verses when it isn’t. It would have to show up with how apps function and no such effects are apparent to me when compared to how they act when in a foreign HMD that better fits my big ol’ Axon 7 for which the Daydream viewer is too small to get a complete view of the screen.

        Thus I’m left wondering what the heck an NFC chip might be for if Daydream apps are insensitive to it as they seem to be.

  • Varghese Jose

    Google Platform is not able to showcase the 360 well Google Plus does not allow 360 in to be posted but https://www.facebook.com/sariga360/ allows to showcase the photo not the Virtual tour .
    Map is a good option but some additions to embed with music and rotate automatically https://goo.gl/maps/1Xo1FU3Gx4N2