Android-compatible Google Daydream VR Controller Hacked to Run on iOS

Genius researcher Ups the Game for Social Engineers by Getting Android-compatible Google Daydream VR Controller to run on the Incompatible iOS Platform.

Conducting data breach is old school skill now- hacking a gadget and making it run on an incompatible platform is the real deal. Infecting a system and carrying out hack attacks is no geniuses’ feat, the real genius hacks a gadget to make it run on a system for which it hasn’t been programmed for. This genius is Remoria VR’s CTO and co-founder Matteo Pisani.

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Matteo Pisani showing his iPhone after hacking and running DayDreamer

We do know that mobile virtual reality or VR is growing by leaps and bounds this is why we often read about new VR gadget being released. Last month, Google released its Daydream platform that is compatible with only selected models of Daydream-ready smartphones running on Android 7.0 Nougat.

The gadget offers exciting VR experience for the users and has become most talked about and sought after VR gadget of the year. However, the only drawback that has diminished the excitement of consumers slightly is the fact that this gadget is only compatible with Android platform and can only run on a few smartphones. Google’s Virtual Reality department VP Clay Bavor categorically stated that currently Google Daydream isn’t “compatible with iOS and won’t be for several years probably.”

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Additionally, the fact that Google Daydream is only compatible with Motorola’s Moto Z and Google’s Pixel smartphones has dampened the spirits of iOS users including Pisani. So what are iOS users going to do about it? Pisani has the answer to this question, by hacking the gadget and making it compatible with iOS.

Pisani, an iPhone user himself, took the statement of Bavor as a challenge and started finding out ways to reverse engineer Google Daydream’s controller. It was a technically complex process indeed but eventually Pisani succeeded and shared his experience here in detail.

He started by using an application called BlueCap so that his iPhone could identify the controller. BlueCap basically Central and Peripheral Bluetooth LE functions and implementations of some standard GATT profiles and profiles for the Texas Instruments SensorTag and Nordic Semiconductor BLE chips. After some failed attempts, Pisani could see incoming data packets in real time. He continued with the investigation and figured out that the masked data actually included a magnetometer, accelerometer, gyroscope and touchpad button apart from other data. He then began the reverse engineering process and identified the way to actually extract and utilize the acquired data. Initial attempts were a big failure but finally, he was able to successfully get the data from Daydream controller to accurately read on his iPhone. Pisani also identified that the iPhone’s packets-per-second were quite enough to smoothly and efficiently run a VR game or 3D experience.

The controller hasn’t yet been tested with VR apps and hence, it is indeed promising aspect that Pisani could connect it with his iPhone and make it function appropriately on the otherwise incompatible iOS device. Another impressive aspect of his achievement is that he conducted reverse engineering on an iPhone 5 handset instead of iPhone7 or iPhone7 Plus, which shows that Daydream controller can be hacked for other versions of Android. It also means that if you don’t have Android 7.0 Nougat, then the gadget can be reverse engineered for other versions of Android OS.

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Source: Hackernoon and a special thank to Matteo Pisani for letting us know about this awesome hack.

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