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Virtual Reality Gets Google Jump

For years, virtual reality has been touted as the next big step in technology; people have been waiting a long time to be able to see and interact with new worlds and environments with the use of a VR headset. Fortunately for tech enthusiasts, this technology might be arriving sooner than expected thanks to a new project from the global tech giant Google. The Mountain View based company is currently in the process of developing their own virtual reality platform that they are calling ‘Jump’.

Google has gone from strength to strength in recent years, virtually taking over large portions of the tech world and the internet through their purchases of companies like YouTube and Boston Dynamics. The folks working at the company clearly envisage that virtual reality is the way forward and are doing everything in their power to bring this technology to the masses as soon as possible. After purchasing YouTube and gaining access to the largest source of video content on the web, Google now plans to allow people to watch and interact with this content in whole new ways thanks to the Jump platform.

Google held their annual I/O event just last week and it was there that they announced their plans for Jump. They are working together with the development team behind the GoPro cameras to create a virtual reality rig, composed of 16 individual camera modules positioned in a circular form to capture everything around the user. What’s especially interesting is that Google does have plans to commercialize this product, but will also be allowing users to take the blueprints for the rig and make it themselves with a 3D printer.

Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Clay Bavor, revealed at I/O 2015 that the choice of materials used to produce the rig can be left entirely up to the user. Google apparently succeeded in making the rig out of a wide variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and even cardboard, just to prove that it could work. Bavor says that the material of the rig isn’t the important thing, and even the cameras themselves can be replaced with store-bought digital cameras. The important thing is the positioning of the cameras in order to achieve a full 360 degree view and truly achieve a sense of virtual reality.

The Jump rig will be launched very soon at some point in the summer, and Google will also be sending out the blueprints and plans for the device to the general public before the end of the season, allowing anyone with a 3D printer to create their own virtual reality headset. When using a Jump headset, Google’s software will be able to create a VR video from the content you film. You can then choose to upload this content to Google’s primary video service, YouTube, in order to allow others to view and review your videos.

Obviously this technology is still in its infancy and the cost of purchase or production will be enough to put many people off, but Google’s Jump rig is certainly a step in the right direction for the world of virtual reality.

 

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