Google uses its VR camera rig for a Cardboard White House tour

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google uses its VR camera rig for a Cardboard White House tour.

“Tour the White House in virtual reality.” That sounds unbelievably cool, but maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s really not that exciting. Google Expeditions, the educational program that equips schools with smartphones and Google Cardboard VR viewers, has stayed relatively low-profile since launching in September.

But today, it’s putting out a video that combines both: a 360-degree tour of the White House’s holiday decorations, available through the Expedition program and the White House’s YouTube channel. Unlike an Oculus Rift or a HoloLens, Cardboard is essentially a dirt-cheap headset that attaches to a smartphone to create an immersive viewing experience. On the other hand, the panorama is nearly seamless — Jump’s stitching software, which fits together footage from those 16 cameras, is definitely doing its job. Either way, it drives home how something that’s frankly prosaic on a tiny browser window — the way I initially watched it — becomes a lot of fun when it takes over your whole field of view.

Google wants this sort of content to be useful for education, so it made a Google Expedition for schools participating in its Expeditions Pioneer Program. “We’ll continue to release new videos that highlight the potential of Jump,” a spokesman told VentureBeat in an email “However, we are looking to get the tech in the hands of more creators.”

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