Google Open Sources Seurat To Bring PC-Level VR To Mobile

by Jamie Feltham • May 9th, 2018

This year’s Google I/O developer conference might not have had much to share about VR, but one of the biggest reveals of last year’s event is now available to all.

Last week Google made its Seurat VR tool open source for anyone to use. For those that don’t know, Seurat is designed to render high-fidelity scenes on mobile and standalone VR headsets in real time. The system was already used to achieve PC-level graphics in a Star Wars VR experience seen last year as well as Blade Runner: Revelations, which launched alongside Google and Lenovo’s standalone VR headset, the Mirage Solo, late last week.

Seurat achieves this high quality by identifying assets and resources that aren’t immediately obvious to a VR user and then stripping the given scene of them, freeing up processing power to produce higher quality textures and more. As Google’s VP of VR and AR, Clay Bavor, noted in the tweet above, Seurat helped turn one scene in Blade Runner from 45 million polygons into 300,000, drastically reducing demand on the phone.

This could be a vital tool in helping mobile VR catch up with its more powerful PC-based siblings, which is especially exciting as headsets like Oculus Go start to make the medium more accessible than it’s ever been before.

Seurat isn’t the only area in which Google is looking to push increased fidelity in VR, though. Earlier this year the company also released a PC VR experience showcasing its work in lightfield capture that recreates real-world environments with stunning realism. Exactly which of these many technologies does end up being widely adopted by developers remains to be seen.

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