#ICYMI MWC16

Project Tango Hands-on with Lenovo

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Project Tango

Project Tango is a Google technology platform – or in this case, a collaborative project between Guidigo, the creators of the platform that Project Tango uses, and Lenovo, who are providing the hardware to run the application.

Earlier this year at CES, Google and Lenovo announced a partnership that will see a PT featured phone by summer 2016. What we experienced at MWC was a hands-on preview of this technology, albeit on a tablet rather than a smartphone.

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PT uses ADF files in the programming phase, which is basically a way for it to recognize the space it is operating within. The program learns the space – which is uploaded as an xyz 3D footprint straight into the mapping software – which is in turn used by consumers for, as the simplest example, guided tours.

Rollout will be slow as the device isn’t shipped yet, but a spokesperson for the company said that ideally, it will be in customer hands by the summer. Guidigo will also be available across multiple platforms as a standalone application; however it will of course have limited capabilities.

Guidigo is already being used in more than 50 museums worldwide, providing more than 400 tours.

From our hands-on, I can say that the technology has a lot of potential. This technology is still in the works, but we experienced virtually no problems at all. Yes, if the user moves too fast the system does need to catch up, but given that for the most part this will be used indoors, I don’t foresee this to be an issue.

Our setting was a museum, which gives PT a myriad opportunities to showcase what it can offer. To start, it provides a guided path to all the important things a visitor needs to look at, making it virtually impossible to get lost. But the real highlight is when you point your camera at an object; Project Tango not only recognizes what you’re looking at, but also highlights key aspects of the art. For example, we stood in front of a huge mural which PT proceeded to guide us through, section by section, offering historical facts about not just the painting, but also the symbolism and even the characters within.

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It’s an impressive piece of tech, and given the companies backing this project, there’s so much potential behind it. Top of mind would be tours of course, but think of the educational tools that can come out of this, creating an interactive environment for students to really immerse themselves in their surroundings.

AR is alive and well with Project Tango.

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