The new Daydream virtual reality head set from Google is due to hit the streets in the US and UK this week. In the UK it will retail for £69.
There is nothing fancy about the product. It is just a kind of mask, that can fit a mobile phone at the front.
The company has already been selling a cardboard VR headset, this is just a better-made version.
Even so, VR is set to change the world.
And it is thanks to convergence.
In the case of the Daydream VR set, the hardware comes from the phone. The screen provides the graphics, the accelerometers built into the phone make it sensitive to movement, in this way the hardware in the phone tells it which way your head is pointing and thus knows what graphics you should see at any one moment.
Smart phones come laden with what are called MEMS – micro electromechanical systems. MEMS include sensors, actuators, accelerometers, switches, and light reflectors, are what makes smart phones sensitive to our actions.
But these components, along with smart phone screens, have been subject to homogenisation. The technology that evolved for use in smart phones is now making a revolution in VR possible.
Convergence is helping to drive innovation – it is the reason why technological evolution has become so rapid.
And the Daydream VR headset is just one example, the Oculus Rift headset has powerful hardware built in. But, its founder Palmer Luckey was only able to advance his product thanks to convergence.
For more examples of convergence, see: Convergence: Stanford scientists create clothes that make you cooler ; At last, the UK prepares to adopt energy storage ; Tesla’s new battery gives its cars more than just oomph ; How virtual reality and brain interfaces are helping paralysed patients walk again and GSK, Verily the miracle that is bioelectronics and innovators’ dilemma