Mobile VR Through the Web
Google is going even one step further, already showing eight demonstrations of mobile virtual reality which leverage Chrome along with WebGL and Three.js for in-browser 3D graphics and camera control:
- Coin Collector
- Music Visualizer
- Classic Stereoscopy
- Bears in Kamchatka
- Great Barrier Reef
- Roller Coaster
- 3D Musical Score Visualizer
- VR Chrome Experiments Gallery
For those interested in making mobile VR experiences deployed through the web, Google has example code to get you started.
One exciting thing about web-based VR is its ability to be widely deployed. All of the demos above lack pre-distortion to compensate for Cardboard’s lenses. However, so long as the browser knows which VR headset you’re using, any of these could be adapted with the proper pre-distortion to work across a number of headsets, without the need for different packages for each headset.
GameFace Labs, who is on the leading edge of a stand-alone mobile VR headset based on Android, is thrilled to have Google throw its hat into the ring.
“Google’s entry into the VR space was music to our ears as we have been promoting an open, Android-based VR platform for some time now. We have tried the Cardboard content on GameFace Mk5 and it looks tremendous in 2.5K,” GameFace Labs’ CEO, Edward Mason, told me. “In one swift move, Google has whipped the tech world into a frenzy with a simple piece of cardboard, the concept of which is not new, but with the support that goes with all of Google’s side projects mobile VR is certain to gain a wider audience in the very near term.”
It’s exciting times for VR, whether you’re interested in the high-end desktop experience which Oculus VR aims for, or the casual VR experience which needs little more than a smartphone and some cardboard. There’s no lack of VR smartphone adapters out there—what’s missing is content. Google’s support of virtual reality is nothing but beneficial to the industry. Suddenly there is a surge of people out there with the ability to view mobile VR content, not to mention a new SDK from Google to help guide the collective enthusiasm of developers and hone the spurious VR content already found on the Play Store. Now we’re left wondering what Apple’s answer will be.