Google wants you to Tango through exhibits at Detroit museum

There may be but two Tango phones in existence (one that hasn't even shipped yet), but Google has big plans for its augmented reality platform. In a post on its VR blog, Google highlights a Michigan museum that is already using the technology to bring its exhibits to life. And you don’t even need to own a Tango phone to take advantage of it.

The Detroit Institute of Arts has built a mobile tour app called Lumin that utilizes the power of Tango to “add AR interactivity and information to further enrich your visit.” Visitors to the museum, which includes more than 100 galleries, can stop by the information desk to receive a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro to use while traversing the halls. Google highlights several exhibits that use Tango to open up new aspects of the works:


You can use Google Tango at Detroit’s Institute of Arts museum to view inside a sarcophagus.

  • Ancient Egypt: Patrons can scan the ancient mummy on display to peek inside the sarcophagus and bandages to view an “X-ray-like view” of the skeleton.
  • Ancient Babylonia: By scanning the Ishtar Gate, visitors can see the structure at scale, and see how the museum’s mosaic piece would have fit in the massive archway.
  • Mesopotamia: While the limestone relief on display has long since faded, Tango can show what it would have looked like thousands of years ago in a digital full-color restoration. Also in the Mesopotamia wing, the Lenovo phone will unlock the secrets of the cylinder seals, letting you interact with them, and see characters and scenes they were once used to create.

Why this matters: AR and VR are clearly the next wave in the mobile revolution, but aside from games and gimmicks, there haven’t been many practical uses for Tango. The Detroit Institute of Arts app is a great example of how the platform can be used as a valuable exploration and education tool.

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