Only days after announcing Google VP Clay Bavor’s official shift to head of Google’s VR endeavors, the tech company has released a support app for Google Cardboard that syncs the headset user’s VR experience with immersive audio, making the experience as real as it can possibly be.
As the name suggests, the audio app is designed to replicate a sense of actual space for the user, and does so by using different speaker sides to simulate a three-dimensional environment. As per Google, the app is structured around the “physiology of a listener’s head,” which dictates how the user hears the sounds being played (the example it gives points to IRL sound delays: a sound that you hear on your right side will have a delay on your left).
“Human beings experience sound in all directions — like when a fire truck zooms by, or when an airplane is overhead,” said Google Cardboard production manager Nathan Martz in an official statement posted on the company’s blog. “Starting today, the Cardboard SDKs for Unity and Android support spatial audio, so you can create equally immersive audio experiences in your virtual reality (VR) apps.”
Other features include the ability to emphasize certain sounds over others, depending on what the user wants to focus on (for instance, turning up a conversation for better clarity and turning down the background noises).
So, how exactly does the Cardboard add-on work? The app is optimized for mobile CPUs (with SIMD instructions), all of which compute audio in real-time with the user’s VR interactions, ultimately weaving in “soundscapes” for Android and iOS platforms.
The audio sample app is available now for download, but with one caveat: it’s for “developer reference only.”
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