Using Google Tango, a platform that measures motion and position in the real world, VPS maps out a device’s immediate surroundings and positioning indoors – a functionality that could have major impact on AR’s commercial and personal use. In addition, he announced an AR mode for an upcoming educational tool called Google Expeditions.
The first consumer Tango-enabled phone launched late past year from Lenovo, but it was a rather large clunker of a device.
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.
The Visual Positioning Service (VPS) revealed on stage, which combines Tango’s inside-out tracking system with Google Maps, provides “very precise location information indoors”, claims Bavor.
Imagine holding up your Tango-ready phone inside of, say, a large warehouse-like store like Lowe’s or Ikea, and instead of getting lost you follow turn-by-turn directions to get you to the right aisle and exact shelf where the item you want is. In the future, VPS combined with an audio interface could transform the way visually-impaired people move around the world. It will also be “one of the core capabilities of Google Lens”-a new image recognition initiative also announced today”. Expeditions AR incorporates Google Tango functionality to give students a virtual window into different worlds using Tango-enabled devices. Previously, Expeditions simply used some rather cheap Cardboard headsets and some sort of phone, or iPod to create a fairly cheap teaching tool.