Tech: Google’s augmented reality project is the coolest thing it showed off this week (GOOG) – Tech

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Google’s augmented reality project is the coolest thing it showed off this week (GOOG)

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A look at how Google Tango is turning phones into augmented reality machines.


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(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Google wants to turn your phone into an augmented reality machine.

Augmented reality, or AR, is the concept of layering digital images on top of the real world. If you’ve played Pokémon Go or used a Snapchat Lens, then you’ve already experienced AR to one degree.

Google has one of the most powerful mobile AR tools with Tango, a project that has been years in the making and sprung out of its secretive product division called ATAP.

Today, Tango is getting closer to running on a wide variety of powerful Android phones and the company showed off the platform’s latest capabilities at its annual I/O conference this week.

Here’s a quick look at what Tango can do today, and some hints at what it’ll be able to do in the future as it comes to more devices.

Tango won’t work on just any phone. It requires a lot of processing power and an array of special cameras and sensors.


Tango won't work on just any phone. It requires a lot of processing power and an array of special cameras and sensors.play

Tango won’t work on just any phone. It requires a lot of processing power and an array of special cameras and sensors.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

This Asus phone is equipped with everything you need to run Tango. Eventually, this will shrink down and work with a wider variety of devices.

In this demo, Tango is used in a classroom to show a bunch of students a virtual globe floating in the middle of the room.


In this demo, Tango is used in a classroom to show a bunch of students a virtual globe floating in the middle of the room.play

In this demo, Tango is used in a classroom to show a bunch of students a virtual globe floating in the middle of the room.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

Students are given Tango phones on selfie sticks.

You can only see the globe through the Tango phone’s camera lens. Here’s what happens when you put the phone down.


You can only see the globe through the Tango phone's camera lens. Here's what happens when you put the phone down.play

You can only see the globe through the Tango phone’s camera lens. Here’s what happens when you put the phone down.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

The coolest part is how the globe is anchored in real space. You can move around it or get closer, giving you the impression it’s really there.


The coolest part is how the globe is anchored in real space. You can move around it or get closer, giving you the impression it's really there.play

The coolest part is how the globe is anchored in real space. You can move around it or get closer, giving you the impression it’s really there.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

Tango can also be used for storytelling and games. Here’s Tango’s take on “The Wizard of Oz.” That’s the scarecrow playing around. He even drew on the walls.


Tango can also be used for storytelling and games. Here's Tango's take on "The Wizard of Oz." That's the scarecrow playing around. He even drew on the walls.play

Tango can also be used for storytelling and games. Here’s Tango’s take on “The Wizard of Oz.” That’s the scarecrow playing around. He even drew on the walls.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

This woman took a photo with a virtual Lion.


This woman took a photo with a virtual Lion.play

This woman took a photo with a virtual Lion.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

You can see how there’d be a lot of possibilities for this technology, ranging from education to gaming.

The Gap built a Tango app that lets you try on clothes without going to the store.


The Gap built a Tango app that lets you try on clothes without going to the store.play

The Gap built a Tango app that lets you try on clothes without going to the store.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

You give the app your measurements and it creates a virtual mannequin to match. It can even show you how the clothes will fit to your preferences and style. (Loose, tight, baggy, etc.)

Because Tango phones can tell where they are in space, you can map entire environments. The Tango Constructor app lets you create 3D models of a space.


Because Tango phones can tell where they are in space, you can map entire environments. The Tango Constructor app lets you create 3D models of a space.play

Because Tango phones can tell where they are in space, you can map entire environments. The Tango Constructor app lets you create 3D models of a space.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

You map the room by waving your phone around. The sensors and cameras log everything in 3D space.


You map the room by waving your phone around. The sensors and cameras log everything in 3D space.play

You map the room by waving your phone around. The sensors and cameras log everything in 3D space.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

When you’re finished, you can pan around the room. You can even send the 3D model to a virtual reality headset.


When you're finished, you can pan around the room. You can even send the 3D model to a virtual reality headset.play

When you’re finished, you can pan around the room. You can even send the 3D model to a virtual reality headset.

(Steve Kovach/Business Insider)

Tango is cool, but still has a long way to go.


Clay Bavor, Google's VR and AR boss.play

Clay Bavor, Google’s VR and AR boss.

(Google)

The ultimate vision for AR is to stuff it into a pair of computerized glasses and eventually replace your smartphone. You heard Facebook talk a lot about that a few weeks ago at its developers conference.

For now, AR is mostly stuck on the smartphone and will have limited use cases like education, gaming, or indoor mapping. Tango has partnered with Lowe’s hardware stores to map the locations of products for customers, for example.

Still, Google appears to be the furthest along when it comes to AR, and it’s only going to get bigger as Tango technology comes to more phones.

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Source: einnews.com