Categories
Android App Development AR / VR

Showing a 360° Photo in Google Daydream VR based on Unity, Part 2

In the first part of the article, we captured a 360° photo using a Samsung Gear 360 camera. Now, we’ll create a new Unity project for Android. Using the right shader and material, we can assign the cylindric projection to a Skybox. This is the perfect 360° photo viewer for Unity, which can then be easily deployed to a Google Daydream / Cardboard VR headset!

Loading the 360° Photo in Unity

The Skybox in Unity is the easiest way to show a 360° photo in VR. Note that 360° 2D and 3D video will be supported out-of-the-box in the upcoming Unity 2017.3 release, according to the current Unity roadmap.

For setting up a 360° panorama as a Skybox, the following guides are extremely helpful if you need further pointers: SimplyVR, Tales from the Rift. The instructions below outline all the necessary steps you need to create your own 360° photo viewer in Unity!

Categories
Android App Development AR / VR

Showing a 360° Photo in Google Daydream VR based on Unity, Part 1

Capturing a 360° photo / video and viewing it in VR is one of the most immersive use cases. As the user is part of a captured real world, the virtual experience is the most life-like possible.

In this article, I will show how to capture a 360° photo using the new Samsung Gear 360 camera (2017 version), then load the photo into a Unity project for Google Daydream / Cardboard to view it in VR on an Android phone (in this case, the Google Pixel 2).

Categories
Android App Development Bluetooth Beacons Windows

Video: Everything You Need To Know About Bluetooth 5 & Beacons

With the first Bluetooth 5 devices just released (first and foremost the Samsung Galaxy S8), Bluetooth Beacons like Apple iBeacon and Eddystone by Google gain a lot of potential. Increased range means future beacons will cover a much larger area, without increased power consumption. With the payload increase of beacon advertisement frames from 31 bytes to 255 bytes, the amount of information transmitted by beacons can substantially increase.

In my session about Bluetooth Beacons at the Mobile Developer After-Work #14: Creating Immersive Environments, I provided a short update about the latest news. Unfortunately, recording of the live session at the event failed. Therefore, I’ve re-recorded it – you will miss the live experience, but I did have a little more time for more detailed explanations of some important facts, so it’s well worth watching again even if you have been at the #mdaw14 Event!

The 45 min recording is now available on YouTube.

Categories
Image Processing

20 – 30% Better JPEG compression from Google? My Test Results.

The blog post from Google sounds intriguing – 20% to 30% better JPEG image compression at the same visual quality through the Guetzli encoder. That has potential for a huge speed increase of websites.

While there are of course a lot of other better image formats around than JPEG (e.g., WebP or JPEG 2000), time has shown that it’s more or less impossible for them to gain any traction. It’s a pity, but on the other hand ensures that pretty much every device available on the market right now can load and show all websites.

Testing Guetzli!

To check the new Guetzli JPEG encoder out myself, I downloaded the binary executable of v1.0 and put it through some very quick tests.