Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Industry | By Dora Warner

Google Touts AR as Your Indoor Guide

Clay Bavor, Google's vice president of virtual reality, explained how VPS will work in an example that will resonate with anyone who's ever worked on a home improvement project.

Google has announced it's working on a service to offer detailed indoor location positioning using its Tango 3D sensing computer vision tech. It's essentially a great tool to use at a store to direct you to where in the store you'll find the milk, or take you to where a specific exhibit is in a museum you're visiting. Instead, it works by leveraging a Tango camera which is capable of triangulating position based upon the distinct visual features in the room. It has been guiding us to our destinations for years. Anyway, Bavor says the idea is that "GPS can get you do the door, and VPS can get you to the exact item you're looking for".

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Launching this fall through Google's Pioneer Program, users will be able to point their AR-ready devices at specific points in the classroom and find volcanoes, the Statue of David, DNA molecules, and more awaiting them.

Google is going to be combining the visual directions with audio interfaces as an option for accessibility to help visually-impaired people navigate through the world. Importantly, Google's VPS technology will be a core part of its new Google Lens software, suggesting that the company expects to support this across a large number of devices in the future.

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Google announced that the company is working with different partners, including HTC and Lenovo, to build a new type of VR headset that won't require a PC or a smartphone to use. The company said that more than 2 million students worldwide have experienced virtual reality in Expeditions with Google Cardboard. So rather than just providing a heads-up-display overlaying the real world, augmented reality could end up providing us with much more information about our surroundings and presenting it in a way that fits in naturally with the way we already interact with the world.

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