220: VR and AR in Mobile Apps Testing with Bj Aberle

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VR and AR Mobile App Testing

With the ability to experience VR on mobile devices and WebVR on the horizon, the potential for VR to go mainstream is huge. But what does this mean for testing? That’s what you'll discover in this episode as we TestTalk with BJ about VR and AR in Mobile Apps Testing. Prepare to discover how to deal with new test environments, configurations, and interfaces for testing virtual reality and augmented reality mobile apps.

About Bj Aberle

bj Aberle Test Talks

BJ Aberle has been Float’s quality assurance lead for six years. Originally hired in 2003 as the director of audio for multimedia projects, the journey into game and procedural audio introduced him to the world of code and development. BJ found that testing and QA allowed him to use those skills to bring new value to the organization. Since no two projects at Float are the same, he wears many QA hats and morphs many roles into one—automation engineer, manual tester, agile test coach—depending on the need at any given time. When he’s not wrestling with flaky UI tests, BJ enjoys creating music in his studio and spending time with his wife and three daughters.

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • VR is still in its infancy. It's one of those technologies that's been on the Gardner hype curve for a long time and now we're finally starting to see it kind of moving up towards the plane of productivity and people are seeing that there are more uses for augmented reality. I think once people realize that they can use augmented reality for much more than just overlaying video on top of your camera view. Then there are going to be a lot more uses of that. And I think people are starting to realize that.
  • I think the model right now for testing AR and VR are three simple steps. The first one is freak out because no one else is doing this. And there's probably no project that is like yours. So there's no model or recipe to go Google. There's no stack overflow to look at. You just have to kind of roll your own for a while. Then once you get over the freakout portion of it you can actually start testing. And the problem with testing especially augmented reality is it's a really kind of blackest of Black Box Testing you can think of because you're taking an input that you think the device should be getting and then you're trying to see if it is this really the correct output. And it's not until a matter of trial and error that you kind of get familiar with the app.
  • So this is the Google daydream goggles. Basically you can see that it looks like a regular kind of VR set but your phone actually in between the controller. You have a controller, the phone then this uses the accelerometer and the IMUs on the device and it displays a virtual reality environment.
  • We actually have another cool technology here which is called the head Mira Prism. This works for augmented reality and instead of having the phone in front of our eyes like this it actually was the device and the headset like this. It will reflect on the PRISM here. So it's kind of a mixed reality experience and that's what we're working on a project for right now. When you put it on you can see not only the real world but you can see the digital projection as well at the same time as a mixed reality experience.
  • If you're developing on daydream platform which is Google Android platform you can use Chromecast and that will actually project what you're seeing in the headset onto a smart TV. So you could record that way or you could have developers see what you're seeing as you're testing. There is another plugin Google Instant Preview that you can that you can use when you're doing daydream development and what that does is it actually allows you to preview your build in unity in the editor so you can instead of having to put on the glasses you can just run your game and you can you can hold the phone and tilts it around. But you can still everyone will be able to see what you're able to see in the editor so that's another way to kind of get around that as well.
  • As far as a piece of advice I think we as testers are in an awesome position to align ourselves with the development team because AR and VR are so new. This might be some of the first time your developers are working with these APIs. Well, that's a great time for us to educate ourselves as well. So my advice would go to unreal or Unity and just create a very simple AR or VR experience. I would say to the audience that you have here it would be pretty simple. I'd say within a couple hours you'll be able to have something up and running. And what that does it gives you perspective in context as to how these apps are created. And it shows you like oh well the marker database actually can reside in the cloud or reside locally on the on the on the device itself. And that gives you some opportunities like now I can actually mock some data. I can set up the device to be testable a lot quicker without asking as many questions and I have some understanding. I'm going to give a second piece of advice too. At the beginning of the year, I made a concerted effort to be more integrated with the developers. In fact, I moved my desk into the development queue and that has made a huge difference to me to be able to turn around and say Hey I'm working on something. But I'm not quite sure I understand what's going on. What's going on and they can come over and within a couple of minutes, we can talk about a problem or service an issue and work on a way to resolve it pretty quickly. So that's my advice.

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