The Google I/O conference held last week is an annual software developer-focused event held by Google in San Francisco, California. It features innovative technology using Google products and services and some Google related open web technologies such as Android, Chrome, and Google APIs. Google’s advanced technology and platforms team (ATAP) stopped the show on Friday with some stunning out of the box innovations and ideas. Google ATAP demonstrated futuristic IO Devices and wearables.
Some of these innovations will change how we interact with our computers in virtual worlds and change the way we play games and immersion, while others are simply just fascinating.
Project Soli – Google Radar
Soli in a nutshell is a movement sensing radar system – built into in a cent sized microchip. It senses the smallest of movements by the hand. Even the subtlest movement between finger and thumb. This device will potentially remove the need for many manual input devices.
Instead of having to move an object, such as a mouse, the radar will detect the smallest movement made by your hand and enable computer control from micro and macro movements. Because there is no need for a visible interface, even the touch screen is redundant. Tiny screens such as watch faces will be large enough to show us what we need to see. There will be no need for touchable screens, large enough for manipulation of the environment.
Project Jaquard- Google Wear
Google have also introduced this technology into fabric, weaving motion sensitive patches into garments such as Levi jeans.
This technology is called Project Jaquard. This project is well named, as it is the design for weaving sensor pads into clothing. Levi’s are already in on the act – so watch out for your first pair of ‘Jaquard’ jeans. You’ll be able to control your phone, computer, car or even your home environment – with your jeans! All you do is pass your hand over the sensor pad to answer your mobile or send a text. Just the slightest movement will get it working. Because the range of what it can sense is endless, you will have another brand new way to control your computer.
Project Vault & Project Abacus – Google Security
Can’t remember your Password? This technology will let you forget them all because it doesn’t rely on passwords. It relies on you. Vault is the latest idea from Google for storing sensitive information and Abacus is an intelligent system for using personal information, such as the way you type, to identify who you are and validate access to information.
Spotlight Stories – Google Interactive Immersion
Storytelling is one of the few human traits that are truly universal across all cultures. – Jeremy Hsu
Research shows that people are hard wired for story telling. Recently virtual worlds have allowed stories to become personal, interactive and immersive. The audience is also the player. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, enable you to weave your own stories using visuals, graphics, sound and speech.
Google are now working on technology to allow stories to run in real time on mobile platforms. The knock on effect will be to allow virtual worlds to run with full graphics on mobile devices.
Part of what’s in the pipeline is a 360-degree view as you turn the phone around. This means a new way of thinking about virtual space. The Google Spotlight Stories App is already available so it won’t be long until we get 360 degree virtual worlds, simply by moving in real space.
What does it all mean?
Google I/O 2015 introduced a vast range of new technologies that will work on the upcoming Internet of things, which includes immersive virtual spaces.
This technology also has a huge impact on virtual worlds. Worlds that cannot adapt and cannot use these new APIs to enable the latest devices will not survive.
It’s also a new era in gaming. The technology is fast approaching where our bodies will be our interfaces – without having to carry cumbersome devices.
Gone will be the mouse, the keyboard, the joystick, the tablet because all will be replaced by thin air and a tiny chip no bigger than a cent piece.
Virtual worlds will be wrapped all around us and we can interact with them as easily as we do in our real world environment.