In Brief

Google working on hybrid reality headset

Internet giant said to be developing new device to straddle both virtual and augmented reality

It seems Google may not have completely backed away from the high end virtual reality market.

A report from ReCode earlier this month, citing "sources familiar with the plans", said the internet giant had planned a range-topping VR device of its own to take on the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift headset and the HTC Vive.

Instead, Google was to focus its VR-only efforts on its new smartphone platform, Daydream, a new headset and controller device for flagship Android smartphones set to be available later this year.

However, ReCode's scoop has been superseded by a report from Engadget claiming Google is still developing a headset of sorts, with a twist over the expensive devices you can buy right now.

According to the site's sources, developers are combining elements of virtual reality with augmented reality to make a hybrid headset blurring the lines between the two concepts.

The AR aspect is what will make the device stand out compared – it could render virtual scenes, objects, characters, just about anything onto a view of the real world, while VR-only headsets create complete environments, locking their wearers inside them.

Engadget's sources said the headset would not be powered by a smartphone or computer so would be completely independent, unlike the expensive headsets already on the market or coming soon. It will also have a screen, although many of its features will be in line with AR applications over VR. Presently, there's no firm release date.

As the site points out, in February, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Google headset making use of externally mounted cameras. It's possible that is the same project as the one outlined by Engadget.

So far, Google's virtual reality efforts, Google Cardboard, have been noticeably and purposefully low-tech, although the company's history with augmented reality is a little more high end.

It developed the Google Glass, a display worn like a pair of glasses for displaying information in an AR format, and has also invested in an ambitious mixed reality start-up company called Magic Leap.

Google declined to comment to Engadget and Ubergizmo says it’s a rumour probably best taken with a grain of salt for now.It seems Google may not have completely backed away from the high end virtual reality market.

A report from [1] ReCode earlier this month, citing "sources familiar with the plans", said the internet giant had planned a range-topping VR device of its own to take on the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift headset and the HTC Vive.

Instead, Google was to focus its VR-only efforts on its new smartphone platform, Daydream, a new headset and controller device for flagship Android smartphones set to be available later this year.

However, ReCode's scoop has been superseded by a report from [2] Engadget claiming Google is still developing a headset of sorts, with a twist over the expensive devices you can buy right now.

According to the site's sources, developers are combining elements of virtual reality with augmented reality to make a hybrid headset blurring the lines between the two concepts.

The AR aspect is what will make the device stand out compared – it could render virtual scenes, objects, characters, just about anything onto a view of the real world, while VR-only headsets create complete environments, locking their wearers inside them.

Engadget's sources said the headset would not be powered by a smartphone or computer so would be completely independent, unlike the expensive headsets already on the market or coming soon. It will also have a screen, although many of its features will be in line with AR applications over VR. Presently, there's no firm release date.

As the site points out, in February, the [3] Wall Street Journal reported on a Google headset making use of externally mounted cameras. It's possible that is the same project as the one outlined by Engadget.

So far, Google's virtual reality efforts, Google Cardboard, have been noticeably and purposefully low-tech, although the company's history with augmented reality is a little more high end.

It developed the Google Glass, a display worn like a pair of glasses for displaying information in an AR format, and has also invested in an ambitious mixed reality start-up company called Magic Leap.

Google declined to comment to Engadget and [4] Ubergizmo sa

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