At Google I/O they’re doubling down on Augmented and Virtual Reality. On the Augmented Reality side of the fence, Google is leveraging Tango to bring the world to the classroom in a new and unique way.
Tango of course is Google’s technology which makes phones and tablets aware of their place in the physical world using a variety of cameras including the main sensor plus a depth sensing camera and infra-red camera.
With Expeditions, Google was able to take classrooms on a trip around the world with 360-degree videos and experiences. With Expeditions AR they can bring objects into the classroom to let kids get up close and personal with stuff they could only see previously by going somewhere. Be it checking out a spacesuit from NASA, who have built an Expedition AR experience for the launch of Expeditions AR, or looking at a deer standing in the middle of the classroom, it brings a new layer of education.
Google has shown of Expeditions AR here at Google IO using Lenovo’s Phab2PRO, as well as the soon to be launched Asus Zenfone AR. Google admits that this is an expensive upgrade to Expeditions. Previously, Expeditions simply used some rather cheap Cardboard headsets and some sort of phone, or iPod to create a fairly cheap teaching tool. With Expeditions AR the price barrier to entry is going to climb.
Google is going to be running a pilot program later this year, but until the Tango tech is in more widely available devices it’s going to remain a very valuable tool, but one outside the reach of most schools.