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Jaunt Looks to Make VR Navigation Easier

Virtual reality company Jaunt is testing out a new feature for web-based VR and 360-degree viewing, one that crowd-sources viewer data available from headsets, using what past VR viewers did to help new ones navigate content.

Dubbed Compass, the a data-driven navigation feature works for VR content viewing in web browsers, and hopes to make it easier for viewers to find previously discovered points of interest. Jaunt hope the feature will keep VR viewers more engaged with content, and help them waste less time looking for nonexistent experiences inside VR content.

“Viewing videos on the web is normally a lean-back experience — you press play and watch. When you force someone to manually interact with a video, that's a bit unusual and can feel intrusive,” said Andrew Walkingshaw, principal software engineer at Jaunt, in a statement. “With Compass, we’re giving our users a more relaxed experience, whether they choose to let Compass guide them through the whole experience, opt to pan back and forth between various areas of interest highlighted for them, or take control themselves — even there, the areas of interest Compass highlights reassures viewers they’re not missing out on anything.”

Jaunt is debuting the new Compass feature in several VR experiences already released, including Escape the Living Dead, Home Turf: The Needles, Invasion! Sneak Peek and Zoolander Infinity.

Jaunt has also announced that it’s enabling spatial audio for its web player, using Google’s open-source Omnitone library. Available on the Chrome browser, the feature will help position sound according to the point of view of the VR user.

“Audio is one of the most essential elements in the VR experience,” said Adam Somers, engineering manager at Jaunt. “Spatial audio provides users with a deeper and ultimately more authentic VR experience. We’re excited to roll out spatial audio to our web player giving users the most immersive experience possible.”