Daydream View
Google’s recently launched
Daydream VR headset

Ben Gilbert /
Business Insider


Google is testing a prototype wireless device that appears to be
related to its virtual reality efforts, according to new documents
filed with the FCC
on Wednesday.

Google is asking the FCC for permission to conduct nationwide
testing of the mystery device with employees, contractors, and
developers. The device transmits across a broad swath of wireless
frequencies, from 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz, according to the documents.

While Google redacted the details about what the device is and
what it will be used for, the company listed Mike Jazayeri as one
of the contacts on the filings.

Jazayeri, who joined Google in 2005, is a director of product
management on the “leadership team” for Google’s virtual reality
group, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was previously
involved in Google’s Cardboard VR viewer.

Google recently began accepting pre-orders for its new $79
Daydream VR headset, which customers should begin receiving in
the next few weeks. The
Daydream headset
relies on a user’s smartphone, which is
inserted into the headset, to create a VR experience.

But the mystery device referred to in the filings is still just a
prototype that Google wants to begin testing and demonstrating.
And, unlike the Daydream, it appears to have built-in
radios. 

One possibility is that the device could be Google’s first
all-in-one VR headset that doesn’t require a smartphone, similar
to Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset. Google’s Glass augmented
reality headset also has built-in radios, but Google stopped
selling the device to consumers in 2015 and it’s unclear if the
company will release a new version of it.

Guessing game

If you like to play “fill-in-the-blanks,” Google gives you this
to work with:

“The Device consists of a [REDACTED]. To enable [REDACTED], the
Device also has a [REDACTED]. Consistent with [REDACTED], the
[REDACTED] in the Device will enable [REDACTED], as needed.”

Apparently the device exceeded certain FCC limits in two
frequencies during “unintentional radiated emission tests,”
Google noted in the filing.

While Google says the prototypes are not intended for use by the
general public, that doesn’t mean the final version won’t be a
consumer product.

Virtual reality and augmented reality, in which digital images
are super-imposed over the real world, are among the hottest
technologies that are attracting increasing investments from the
likes of Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Google.

Facebook began shipping the
Oculus Rift VR headset
in March, two years after
acquiring Oculus for $2 billion
. And Google has made it clear
that it sees VR as an important part of its future.

Interestingly, the FCC responded to Google on Thursday, seemingly
incredulous about the broad frequency listed in the filing.

“Does the one device truly transmit across the entire 2.4-5.8 GHz
band? If not, this band should be broken up into sub-bands in
which the device actually transmits,” the FCC wrote in a letter
to Google.

Google did not immediately return requests for comment from
Business Insider.

Here are more details from the filings about Google’s prototype
testing:

“The Device will be used by professional Google employees and
contractors. The Device also may be used by external trusted
professional developer [REDACTED]. The Device is not intended to
be used by general public. No commercial operations will be
conducted under the requested authorization, and all Devices will
be collected or destroyed at the end of the experimentation
period.

The proposed testing does not create a material risk of harmful
interference. The Device meets all Part 15 Class A and nearly all
Class B device limits for electromagnetic compatibility and radio
operations. The Device exceeded Part 15 1 Class B device limits
at two frequencies—43.4 MHz and 639.0 MHz—during unintentional
radiated emission tests conducted by [REDACTED] at a distance of
three meters.”