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Google unveils Tango-based Visual Positioning System

Google unveils Tango-based Visual Positioning System

May 18, 2017 | By Emma Kidwell

May 18, 2017 | By Emma Kidwell
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More: VR, Smartphone/Tablet

During Google’s I/O conference, VP of virtual and augmented reality Clay Bavor announced the Visual Positioning Service, a new augmented reality service that essentially brings the functionality of Google Maps indoors.

Google hasn't touched on how VPS can be applied to mobile AR games quite yet, but it isn't hard to imagine the ways this heightened positional tech could be harnessed by developers to create new games that interact with real-world environments on an even deeper level.

The implications are fascinating, as a video from Road to VR demonstrates. 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. 

Bavor said the service can be used now in select museums and Lowe’s stores, able to guide users to an exact item using a VPS-enabled phone.

VPS’ uses may well go beyond museums and retail stores. In the future, Bavor imagines one scenario in which VPS works along with an audio interface to help those with visual impairments navigate the world more effectively.

In addition to the VPS reveal, Bavor announced Expeditions AR, an expansion of the educational “virtual field trip” initiative Expeditions VR. Expeditions AR incorporates Google Tango functionality to give students a virtual window into different worlds using Tango-enabled devices.

Read more about how VPS works on Google’s official blog.

VRDC Fall 2017 will be taking place at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco, CA September 21-22. Register todayGamasutra, VRDC, and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Americas.

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