VR at Google - Jump, Expeditions, and Daydream

MAY 19, 2016

Posted by Nathan Martz, Product Manager, Daydream

Two years ago at Google I/O, we introduced Google Cardboard, a simple and fun way to experience virtual reality on your smartphone. Since then, we've grown the Google VR family with Expeditions and Jump, and this week at Google I/O, we announced Daydream, a platform for high quality mobile virtual reality.

Jump—in the hands of creators and more cameras on the way

We announced Jump, cameras and software to make producing beautiful VR video simple, at I/O last year. Jump cameras are now in the hands of media partners such as Paramount Pictures, The New York Times, and Discovery Communications. Virtual reality production companies including WEVR, Vrse, The Secret Location, Surreal, Specular Theory, Panograma, and RYOT also have cameras in hand. We can't wait to see the wide variety of immersive videos these creators will share with a growing VR audience.

To enable cameras in a range of shapes and sizes and price points. Today, the Jump ecosystem expands with two partnerships to build Jump cameras. First, we're working with Yi Technology on a rig based around their new 4K Action Cam, coming later this year.

With Jump, we've also seen incredible interest from filmmakers. Of course when you're creating the best content you want the absolute highest quality, cinema-grade camera available. To help create this, we're collaborating with IMAX to develop a very high-end cinema-grade Jump camera.

Expeditions—One year, one million students

More than one million students from over 11 countries have taken an Expedition since we introduced the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program last May. The program lets students take virtual reality trips to over 200 places including Buckingham Palace, underwater in the Great Barrier Reef—and in seventh grader Lance Teeselink’s case—Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

And soon, students will have even more places to visit, virtually, thanks to new partnerships with the Associated Press and Getty Images. These partners will provide the Expeditions program with high-resolution VR imagery for current events to help students better understand what’s happening around the world.

Daydream—high quality VR on your Android smartphone

Daydream is our new platform for high quality mobile virtual reality, coming this fall. Over time, Daydream will encompass VR devices in many shapes and sizes, and Daydream will enable high quality VR on Android smartphones.

We are working with a number of smartphone manufacturers to create a specification for Daydream-ready phones. These smartphones enable VR experiences with high-performance sensors for smooth, accurate head tracking, fast response displays to minimize blur, and powerful mobile processors. Daydream-ready phones take advantage of VR mode in Android N, a set of powerful optimizations for virtual reality built right into Android.

With Daydream, we've also created a reference design for a comfortable headset and an intuitive controller. And, yes we're building one too. The headset and controller work in tandem to provide rich, immersive experiences. Take a look at how the controller lets you interact in VR:

Build for Daydream

The most important part of virtual reality is what you experience. Some of the world's best content creators and game studios are bringing their content to Daydream. You will also have your favorite Google apps including Play Movies, Street View, Google Photos, and YouTube.

You can start building for Daydream today. The Google VR SDK now includes a C++ NDK. And if you develop with Unreal or Unity, Daydream will be natively supported by both engines. Visit the Daydream developer site where you can get access the tools. Plus, with Android N Developer Preview 3 you can use the Nexus 6P as a Daydream developer kit.

This is just the beginning for Daydream. We’ll be sharing much more on this blog over the coming months. We’re excited to build the next chapter of VR with you.