While Google Cardboard certainly isn’t going to be competing spec for spec with the big boys in the increasingly crowded VR market, it is continuing to make the case that it can be the best option for those that aren’t looking to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to experience VR.
Today’s update to the Cardboard SDK for Unity and Android brings with it something that is every bit as critical to the immersive nature of VR as the visuals, namely spatial audio. What this means is that sound will be delivered in a fashion simulating how we perceive sound in real life. Rather than isolating sounds to the left or right channel, the new SDK factors in the listener’s head as well as the position of the sounds to deliver the feel of sounds coming from one direction to the other. The SDK even allows for differentiating the sound by environment, so that sounds in an open field would sound very different than those in a small room.
According to Google, they have optimized for mobile CPUs, and this additional functionality should have a minimal hit to performance. If necessary, developers can reduce fidelity on less critical sounds to reduce CPU load.
If you are a Google Cardboard developer interested in checking all this out, hit the source link below and you’ll find a sample Android app as well as documentation.