MWC 2016: Try your hand at developing basic VR apps with ARM's SDK

ARM's Mali VR SDK provides tools for developers to understand the basics of programming and rendering VR content

Virtual reality headsets are getting a lot of buzz, but programs and content are tough to find. You can now test your skill at writing VR apps with a software development kit released by ARM.

VR apps written using ARM's Mali VR SDK version 0.2, now effectively in beta test, can be viewed on headsets like Samsung's Gear VR. The SDK is designed to work with ARM's Mali graphics processor, which is found on many top-line smartphones like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, announced this week at Mobile World Congress.

Virtual reality is a hot topic at the show, going on in Barcelona. Companies like Oculus, HTC, Sony and others are expected to ship VR headsets later this year. Gartner is projecting VR headset shipments to reach 1.4 million this year, up from just 140,000 in 2015, and rising to 6.3 million by 2017.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at MWC said VR is the next big social platform through which users will be able to share new social experiences. HP believes VR could change the computing experience and is looking to bring interactive 3D features to Windows laptops and Chromebooks, desktops and tablets.

Large companies like Samsung and boutiques like Two Bit Circus are driving the development of VR content. Games are also being written to work on the upcoming Oculus Rift headset.

Writing VR applications for 3D is very different than writing programs for flat screens and keyboards and mice, said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner, in an interview earlier this month.

The VR headset has a completely new interactive interface, and new skills are needed to write content and programs, Blau said.

Material that doesn't hurt the eye or cause nausea needs to be created, Blau said.

"There's going to be a lot of good apps out there, but I'm sure there will be many bad ones too," he said.

Writing VR applications isn't just about writing code, but also requires an understanding of human-computer interaction, especially as content becomes more immersive.

The Mali VR software development kit has sample programs on content delivery and eye tracking that are key to VR experiences. Programmers don't want to give users the feeling that objects in a 3D world are poking them in the eyes. Some VR headsets like Microsoft's Hololens have sensors to track eye movement.

The SDK will also ultimately cover tracking a viewer's head orientation and reducing latency when showing content, according to documentation on ARM's website.

The SDK works with OpenGL API, but not with its successor, Vulkan 1.0, which was released last week. Vulkan does a better job at rendering high-quality VR content in a more power-efficient manner. ARM's new Mali GPUs support Vulcan.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MWC 2016

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?