Google's Draco: Another Open Source Tool That Can Boost Virtual Reality Apps

With 2017 ramping up, there is no doubt that cloud computing and Big Data analytics would probably come to mind if you had to consider the hot technology categories that will spread out this year. However, Google is on an absolute tear as it open sources a series of 3D graphics and virtual reality toolsets. Last week, we covered the arrival of Google’s Tilt Brush apps and virtual reality toolsets. 

Now, Google has delivered a set of open source libraries that boost the storage and transmission of 3D graphics, which can help deliver more detailed 3D apps. “Draco” is an open source compression library, and here are more details.

Google notes the following: “3D graphics are a fundamental part of many applications, including gaming, design and data visualization. As graphics processors and creation tools continue to improve, larger and more complex 3D models will become commonplace and help fuel new applications in immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).  Because of this increased model complexity, storage and bandwidth requirements are forced to keep pace with the explosion of 3D data.”

The company’s open source blog adds:

 The Chrome Media team has created Draco, an open source compression library to improve the storage and transmission of 3D graphics. Draco can be used to compress meshes and point-cloud data. It also supports compressing points, connectivity information, texture coordinates, color information, normals and any other generic attributes associated with geometry. With Draco, applications using 3D graphics can be significantly smaller without compromising visual fidelity. For users this means apps can now be downloaded faster, 3D graphics in the browser can load quicker, and VR and AR scenes can now be transmitted with a fraction of the bandwidth, rendered quickly and look fantastic.

Transmitting 3D graphics for web-based applications is significantly faster using Draco’s JavaScript decoder, which can be tied to a 3D web viewer.

 Here, there is a video that shows how efficient transmitting and decoding 3D objects in the browser can be – even over poor network connections.

Google also recently announced VR View, an open source tool that lets  developers embed 360-degree photo and video content into sites and native apps. The images can be viewed on Cardboard viewers or through a single-lens viewer.  And, you can find out more about other open source virtual reality tools from Google in our previous post.

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Sam Dean


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