|Type||Input Device, Motion Tracker|
|Input||Clickable touchpad, 2 buttons|
Daydream Controller was unveiled in Google I/O 2016 on May 18, 2016.
The Google Daydream Controller is a wireless remote that is used to interact with the VR world. The controller is part of the Daydream VR headset package. The device uses both input buttons and sensors to operate the apps and games that are compatible with Google Daydream View. When not used, the remote controller can be safely stored inside the Daydream VR headset.
Google’s Daydream Controller is a small ovular shaped wireless remote with four buttons and a touchpad. The flat face of the device has a circular button at the center and a minus button above it. At one end of the Controller, just above the minus button, is situated the touchpad, the main input option. Lastly, the volume buttons are on the right side of the controller. While some controllers use the D-pad or two-hand gamepad model, the Daydream Controller has adopted the touchpad model, which is simpler and effective.
The touchpad is the biggest and most important input option on the controller. The majority of apps and games use the touchpad as their primary input option. The touchpad is designed to gather the X and Y coordinates of the user’s action (i.e.) touch. The 2D input technique allows the controller to sense the exact location of the touch and in addition to that recognize the Double TAP and Swipe. Combining the Double TAP and touch coordinates’ technique increases the chance of multiple inputs from a single option.
The two buttons below the touchpad – the minus (-) and circular center button – perform just one function each, as of now. The button with the minus sign is called the App button. It provides a simple one click input function. The circular center button or the Home button opens the home screen or the menu options. To control the volume level of apps and games, users need not remove the phone from the VR headset. The volume control on the right side of the device has two buttons (increase and decrease).
The real power of the Daydream Controller lies in its sensors. The three sensors or what Google calls 3 DoF (Degree of Freedom) are: (1) Orientation, (2) Gyroscope, and (3) Accelerometer. The three sensors work together to pinpoint the location and estimate the force applied to the device in the three-dimensional space.
A magnetometer acts as the orientation sensor in the Daydream Controller. The sensor measures the earth’s electromagnetic field in the surrounding space and precisely locates the position of the controller in the 3D world. The orientation sensor calculates the Pitch, Yaw, and Roll of the device. Simply put, the Pitch detects the front up/down motion of the controller, the Yaw senses the left/right rotation, and the Roll senses the sideways up/down motion (visualize the sideways up/down rotation of a key in a keyhole).
The Gyroscope sensor monitors the speed of the movement in rad/s. The orientation sensors detect the direction of the movement, whereas the gyroscope determines the speed of the pitch-yaw-roll rotations. When the Daydream Controller is idle the gyroscope value is 0 rad/s. Developers and users should bear in mind that the gyroscope sensor cannot gauge the speed above a certain limit.
The third sensor, Accelerometer computes another vector, the speed of the moving object (in this case the Daydream Controller) in a particular direction. The accelerometer calculates three values (the speed of the controller in the three axis of the real world) and it’s measured in m/s. The gathered data can then be used as an input or feedback in the virtual reality world.
Charging Daydream Controller
The Google Daydream Controller has a maximum battery life of 12 hours. The brand new controller is not fully charged. Users are advised to charge the device for 2 hours before putting it to use.
Google, the makers of this wonderful gadget, do not provide separate USB Type C charger that is essential to juice up the controller. Charging cable that is part of the Google phone kit can be used to power up the Daydream Controller. Otherwise, a new Daydream Controller charger can be purchased from the Google Store. A white blinking indicator signifies the controller is replenishing its battery charge and a solid white light indicates a full charge.
Pairing Daydream Controller with the Headset
Prior to placing the Daydream-ready Smartphone inside the headset, users can download the Daydream app and use the app to pair the Controller with the headset.
Begin the pairing process by updating the Android Operating System. Open the app and follow the step-by-step instructions to connect the Controller and Daydream headset. Sometimes the app would alert the user to update the Controller software. Once the update and setup are finished the user will be taken to a brief Welcome tutorial.
Users are allowed to pair the Daydream-ready phone with just a single Controller. To pair a new device, open the Daydream app, enter the Setting page, choose the ‘Pair New Controller’ option, and follow the directives given on the screen.
Developers can create a controller emulator with a smartphone and a paper cutout. The emulator is an app that mimics the buttons on the controller. A plastic or paper cutout of the button outlines can be placed on top of your phone to help guide the fingers.
Release Date and Cost
An announcement about the Daydream VR headset and the Controller was first made in May 2016, at the Google I/O Developer Conference. The first Daydream headset was released on November 10, 2016.
The Google Daydream headset and the Controller come with a price tag of $79.