The short lived Daydream platform actually had some standout titles and lots of interesting experimental stuff including early Chrome and Firefox VR integration, YouTube integration, Google photos, WebVR, etc. I could even attach a usb keyboard using usb-to-go for touch typing with my headset on
Going from PCVR with the Vive I assumed 3DoF headset and the simple tracking remote would be crippling but was surprised to find how performant it actually was, with well designed applications really leveraging it’s limitations. Tracking was very robust and hard to break demonstrating Google’s secret software sauce at work.
Some of the walking simulators like Eclipse Edge of Light and Dreadhalls provided a strong sense of presence for those with robust stomachs… whilst Google’s funding helped developer Tender Claws to create the stunning “Virtual Virtual Reality”.
However Daydream had a couple of flaws, notably causing the phone (in my case Pixel XL) to quickly overheat and shut down. It was also uncomfortable and tended to move around due to the single fabric headstrap.
Time to get to work…
This was modified to fit my face by cutting away the original gasket and retrofitting an aftermarket Vive cushion using industrial strength velcro.
This resulted in a super comfortable fit by increasing the surface area whilst presenting a more compatible shape. The entire gasket could be still removed for cleaning, though the polyurethane (Pu) Vive cushion was easy to wipe clean without removal.
Looking down would cause the headset to lift away from my face, as Daydream came with just a simple horizontal strap with plastic buckle adjuster. Quickly moving left or right caused the headset to move about, tightening the strap helped a little but then pulled the cushion too tight against the face. It was time for an additional strap!
Couple of different straps were tried, to find the right shape and style that was easily adjusted but comfortable. It needed to be elasticated but firm enough to grip the head firmly, and easy to adjust whilst on your head; finally thin enough to allow use of audio headphones.
The trickiest challenge was cooling the phone; unfortunately Daydream used a smartphone firmly clamped in a thermal sandwich of plastic and fabric faceplate. Thankfully the Pixel XL had an aluminium alloy body which I could exploit.
Thanks for reading. Rob Cole