Google Cardboard’s virtual reality apps may soon sound a whole lot better.
The company introduced new tools for developers that Google promises will allow them to create more immersive and realistic audio within their virtual reality apps for Cardboard.
The new software development kit (SDK) enables developers to support spatial audio within their virtual reality apps for Google’s Cardboard viewers. Spatial audio is an advantage for virtual reality because it makes audio sound more realistic, which can make a VR experience feel more immersive overall.
Developers, as Google notes in its blog post, have been experimenting with basic versions of spatial audio by adjusting when each device’s speaker is used. But with Google’s new SDKs, developers have much more control over how users will hear sound.
“The SDK combines the physiology of a listener’s head with the positions of virtual sound sources to determine what users hear,” Nathan Martz, Google Cardboard’s product manager, writes. “For example: sounds that come from the right will reach a user’s left ear with a slight delay, and with fewer high frequency elements (which are normally dampened by the skull).”
For users, the updates mean that virtual reality apps for Cardboard could soon sound a lot more realistic without the need to get new hardware. Google says the new updates should be easy for developers to implement into their existing apps, and Google has released an app for developers who want to experiment with the new audio features.
The news comes one day after a report that Google is doubling down on its commitment to Cardboard and virtual reality. At a time when other consumer VR headsets, like Oculus RIft, arefacing a backlash over pricing, Google is reportedly looking to broaden the reach of its inexpensive Cardboard platform.