Google Cardboard picks up spatial audio SDK support for impressive 3D sound
Google Cardboard already lets users dive into rich virtual worlds with just their existing smartphone and a cheap (if not outright free) viewer, seriously lowering the cost of entry for a stunning VR experience. But while Cardboard’s done a lot to transport our eyes to far away locales or 3D-rendered fantasy landscapes, it’s been missing a few pieces when it comes to giving our ears that same sort of immersive treatment. That’s all changing today, as Google shares word of new spatial audio support for the Cardboard SDK.
As Google points out, Cardboard apps were certainly capable before of trying their own hand at 3D audio for users wearing headphones, but this new SDK does a lot to streamline the process, while also giving devs the tools they need to create sounds that really match their corresponding 3D environments.
Those tools help do all the processing legwork to account for how both of our ears receive sound coming from points around us, as well as add reverb and echo effects to give a proper sense of space. That all involves a lot of calculations, but mobile-optimized algorithms should help avoid a big performance hit on smartphone SoCs.
In addition to Cardboard Android support, these new spatial audio SDK additions are also coming to the Cardboard SDK for the cross-platform Unity game engine.