Is Tango the Future of AR?

The much anticipated first Tango-enabled device is finally released to the public, along with Legacy’s new Augmented Reality game, Crayola Color Blaster. Where do we go from here?

promo_2For Legacy, the answer is easy. We have new content for Color Blaster releasing Valentine’s Day 2017. Instead of running away from zombies, you’ll have to avoid rampaging gnomes, orcs, and dragons. Seriously, we will be focusing most of our future efforts on evolving the types of interactivity possible with virtual characters, given our discovery of how much fun this is in AR.

unnamedWhat about other Tango apps? Phantogeist is another great game with roughly humanoid shaped aliens invading our world, along with monstrous creatures of different sizes! Both Woorld and Raise bring cute little characters and objects into your room. As the Tango technology becomes better and smarter, virtual characters will be able to recognize what objects are. Imagine virtual humanoids relaxing in your favorite armchair, digital pets sleeping in your bed, a 3D chef inspecting your kitchen and pots, and more!

hotwheelsAnother thing Tango devices do well is the ability to track your movement in space. This helps construction games in particular. Placing straight tracks, curves, accelerators, and much more is intuitive in the Hot Wheels Track Builder because you can pick up the objects and walk it over to exactly where you need it. The Towers for Tango game lets you build skyscrapers on your coffee table. Move your device up and down each floor and get an X-ray view to customize things exactly the way you want.

So back to the original question…Are Tango-enabled smart phones the future of AR? Or is looking through a phone as you walk through a room or building just too wonky to become mass market? Pokemon Go would indicate otherwise. There will certainly be more Tango smart phones to hit the market in the next year, including some announced at CES in January. (Just google it!)

On the other hand, even if Tango-enabled smart phones don’t explode in popularity, it doesn’t take insider information (of which I have none) to predict that Tango software may become embedded in Google Daydream VR headsets. Once that happens, Daydream will become a mixed reality platform (it currently just supports VR), and its form factor will just keep getting smaller and more comfortable.

My point is that I believe Tango software and 3D camera technology is here to stay. Its 3D mapping usefulness, fun factor, and relatively low cost will make it ubiquitous, eventually. The form it takes, however, will vary, at least in the short term. Mobile phones now…headsets next…glasses later? What do you think?