The Google VR team wants to explore and share the possibilities of VR – starting with a drum like keyboard.
After unveiling Google’s VR eco-system Daydream during the first day keynote at their annual I/O developer conference, Google announced on Thursday their latest VR prototyping team called Daydream Labs.
Daydream Labs is a way for the Google VR team to explore different applications and interactions for virtual reality, whose learnings will be shared with the world to help other developers.
Apps will be a large focus for Daydream Labs, having already tackled more than 60 app experiments to test different use cases and interaction designs. The team is hoping to learn as quickly as possible leading up to a Fall release of the Daydream VR platform and eco-system, building two new app prototypes each week. Each prototype app team will consist of a developer and designer, rapidly prototyping to push VR development forward.
Since these are all experiments, not all of them are successful, but Daydream Labs is showing off a couple examples of some fun early experiments including a new efficient means of typing in VR.
In the example video below, the Daydream Labs team built a virtual drum kit that used HTC Vive controllers as drumsticks that they then adapted to a virtual keyboard.
“We were initially skeptical that drumsticks could be more efficient than direct hand interaction, but the result surprised us,” explains Andrey Doronichev, Group Product Manager, Google VR. “Not only was typing with drumsticks faster than with a laser pointer, it was really fun! We even built a game that lets you track your words per minute (mine was 50 wpm!).”
Another Daydream Labs experiment (below) shows you what slipping down a slide or climbing a ladder using HTC Vive controllers looks like in VR, as well as a Unity demo that illustrates how the Google VR spatial audio engine reacts to the listener position and changes in the environment in real-time (found here).
Considering the struggle I have had with inputing text in VR and having actually never had the chance to climb a ladder or coast down a slide, just these two VR experiments are an exciting look of what is to come from Daydream Labs and the community at large.