Got VR? No? Google’s new ‘VR180’ format likely to be smartphone photog friendly

Just wide enough to work

If you’re a VR fan, you’re not alone…. except you kind of are, since adoption of full-on VR systems is still not happening in a really big way. The headsets are bulky, the computers need to run them are expensive, and you kind of need some dedicated space to enjoy the experience. It’s not exactly something you pop into Best Buy to pick up on a lark. But now, Google is trying to cut down on VR’s complexity – by half. It’s called “VR180.”

It’s more of an initiative than a specific technology, although at its core, the “180” stands for the field of view: 180 degrees, or about what you see with your eyes right now. Shooting video in 180 instead of 360 simplifies things as well, and 180-degree camera systems could easily be integrated into smartphones, making pretty much anyone a VR180 creator. Then, just slip the phone into a headset for playback.

Google is teaming with companies such as Lenovo, LG, Yi and others to get cameras to consumers, and they say the VR180 videos will be playable on Daydream VR kits, as well as the Cardboard headsets and Sony’s Playstation VR. A VR push from Google and the simplification of the tech may be the boost VR needs to go mainstream, and I’m sure we’ll have a better idea of how the idea is working out this holiday season.

What music goes with Autopilot?

If you’ve got the coin to pony up for a Tesla electric car, well, we’re jealous, and now, owners of the expensive EVs may get another perk: A Tesla-only music streaming service. Recode reports Tesla is in talks with major music labels to launch just such a thing, which Recode describes as a Pandora-like service with several paid tiers. So, what, Spotify and Apple Music aren’t good enough? Apparently not, according to a Tesla spokesperson.

The Tesla rep basically said the company is looking to create a music service as exceptional as the cars, and to create, quote, “maximum happiness for our customers.” Well I guess if you’re dropping over 160 large for a Model X like we just tested, we’re pretty sure “maximum happiness” is a box we’d also tick on the options list. So far, there’s no name being kicked around for the service, so be sure to suggest one you think would work in the comments section.

What exactly was that guy thinking?

The say sometimes life imitates art, but a recent incident caught on an L-A freeway suggests life also sometimes imitates video games. Check out this amazing clip: a guy on a motorcycle kicks a car next to him in the carpool lane. The driver then swerves into the motorcycle rider, who somehow defies the laws of physics and keeps the bike upright as the driver of the Nissan loses control, hits the center barrier, and then barrels across two lanes and smacks into an Escalade.

That impact sends the Escalade into a tumble and the guy on the bike just hits the gas and roars away. The whole scene looks like something out of Grand Theft Auto. In the end, despite all the destruction, no one was seriously hurt, and that motorcycle rider has got to be one of the luckiest people on earth – and police would like to talk with him, obviously. Pretty amazing – and we’re glad no one was seriously hurt.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.