Google Cardboard might be a low-fi way to do VR on your smartphone, since you just stick a phone into a folded piece of cardboard, but it works really well – and it’s going to be the way that many people experience VR for the first time. But that doesn’t mean that this has to be a subpar experience. In fact, Google is messing around with a way to do high-quality sound from VR with a new audio library they’ve introduced today that brings 3D audio to the Cardboard SDK, which developers can implement into their apps and games.
3D audio is not only cool, it can dramatically help with the presence part of VR, getting you to feel like you’re really in the world you’re experiencing. And it will work through just a normal pair of headphones or earbuds. If that seems unlikely, you should brush up on binaural audio – it’s quite possible to make great positional audio work through stereo headphones, not just through surround speakers. After all, you just have two ears.
This is really promising to see as well from Google because it’d be easy to leave Cardboard as a rudimentary thing. But i Google is making it possible to get a better VR experience from any device, who knows – maybe with further advances, your iPhone will be the spearhead for the VR revolution, whether Apple does anything about it or not. If you have an Android device, you can try out the test app that will show you just how well this can work.