Mobile Augmented Reality will take off with Project Tango!
Augmented Reality enthusiasts can rejoice as Google’s Project Tango is finally taking shape. Devices equipped with Google Tango (Lenovo Phab 2) will be hitting the stores soon and they promise to offer a more refined AR experience on your mobile phone. Amongst other things, Project Tango uses sensors and cameras to map 3D spaces. This helps the device in understanding the world around it using motion tracking, area learning, and depth perception.
Project Tango is a culmination of the efforts of ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects group) and is headed by Johnny Chung Lee who played a major role in developing Microsoft’s Kinect. This is also the team behind the famed ‘Project Ara’ the modular smartphone from google that allows for customization.
Tango allows for a range of applications in mapping, gaming, retail and others. Google predicts that Tango can be used as a tool to measure indoor spaces and rearrange them spatially (Imagine redesigning your home, with an option to reset). There is also a large scope for Augmented Reality games with heightened accuracy and realism that may help attract serious gamers to the mobile platform. The larger vision for Tango seems to be a comprehensive indoor mapping system similar to Google maps that will help users navigate indoor spaces such as museums, buildings, metros and the likes.
The major bone of contention here is the limited content that is available for the platform. Currently, the Phab 2 Pro has 25 Tango-enabled apps (According to PC Mag) and they are looking at hitting 100 by the end of the year. The lack of devices that are Tango-enabled is also a bottleneck in terms of adoption of the technology.
The onus is now on developing content for the existing platform. Tango will help break the barrier for entry to exciting AR/VR experiences as it no longer requires clunky headsets and peripherals (read Microsoft Hololens, GearVR). This is great news for the AR gaming community as it can expect higher quality and responsive camera AR content. Games that use the platform such as Pokémon Go, Delta T, Ingress can be designed to be much more immersive and engaging to audiences using this tech.