Google adds spatial audio to improve Cardboard VR experience

Google is looking to improve the immersiveness of VR experiences through Cardboard apps by enabling spatial audio.

The company will ensure the feature – which makes it appear as if sound is coming from different directions – is now built into an updated Cardboard SDK for developers.

Whereas Oculus has made spatial audio a key new feature in more recent iterations of the Rift hardware, Cardboard now users will have access to the the tech through their own headphones.

While the Cardboard headset has enabled incredible visible experiences on a budget, Google is now focused on replicating audio experiences in “the same way humans actually hear” them.

On the Google Developers blog, Google Cardboard’s Nathan Martz explains how the SDK “combines the physiology of a listener’s head with the positions of virtual sound sources to determine what users hear.

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).”

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Users will still only need their regular headphones, smartphone and Cardboard headset in order to enjoy the new experiences.

The news follows a couple of newsworthy days for Google in VR.

Yesterday we brought word that the company is forming a new VR division, with the former head of Gmail and Drive, Clay Bavor, taking the reins.