Google Cardboard SDK adds spatial audio to better compete with the Oculus Rift

January 22, 2016

Article originally published on The Next Web.

Google’s Cardboard platform provides a nice cursory VR experience, but may be getting a lot better. The latest Cardboard SDK for Unity supports spatial audio, which it hopes will engage your ears to the level your eyes are.

Spatial audio is a nice slight-of-hand when it comes to VR audio for Cardboard. With the headphones you already have, Cardboard can feign noises coming from different angles.

The SDK also lets developers create sound for any virtual space. A distant spaceship won’t suddenly pop into your left ear; it’ll slowly rumble into existence, even if you can’t see it yet.

Sounds coming from a direction —- like that spaceship in your left ear — will also have a slight delay before hitting your other ear, when appropriate. The SDK doesn’t just support left-to-right, though; developers can create sound in a 360-degree environment.

Oculus began supporting spatial audio last year, so Google’s SDK is another salvo in the ongoing VR headset wars. While it’s still hard to argue the Rift and Cardboard provide the same experience, the gap is slowly closing.

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Fun and Learning at the October Holiday Tech BootcampBilal Kathrada, special guest speaker at Education @CTIVIST Conference 2016 – From Chalk to Click.
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