ZenFone AR x Google's Tango – A New World of Fun and Learning
Late in 2016, Google launched its long-awaited Tango AR (Augmented Reality) technology. Tango is a platform that enables app and game developers to layer augmented reality on top of your smartphone’s live camera feed, and, even better, to render a live, 3D virtual map of the surrounding space, so that characters and objects within the space interact as if they were really there.
Virtual characters in the real world
Imagine you’re standing in your living room and pointing your phone’s camera at your surroundings. Now imagine a dinosaur walks into view on your screen and begins to interact with you. Maybe it’s a terrifying monster you’ll have to battle in a game, or maybe it’s a cute and friendly dinosaur that just wants to play with you and hang out on your couch, shooting the breeze.
This is the power of augmented reality–it’s a way to enhance your normal surroundings, with layered-in features, characters, surprises, and treats you can interact with.
AR gaming on the go
There’s more to AR gaming than Pokémon Go.
We all remember the wave of excitement that spread like wildfire when Pokémon Go launched last summer, awakening many more smartphone users to the possibilities of augmented reality when paired with geolocation.
For the first time, an augmented reality game became a platform for real human interaction in the game’s public spaces – the Pokémon Gyms where users meet to do battle with their Pokémon or the millions of international geo-locations where you can unlock new characters.
Virtual-real world interactions
See how a new bedspread looks before you buy – 3D mapping makes this possible!
Tango AR takes this technology to an entirely new level. Now, characters within an augmented reality game can be aware of the space around them. If there’s a wall, chair, or couch in the way, they know it’s there and walk around it, bounce off it or jump over it, making them more realistic and enjoyable to interact with than ever before.
It’s this live 3D mapping technology that makes Tango AR such a powerful platform.
High-spec phone for this cutting-edge tech
The ASUS ZeonFone AR uses the three-camera TriCam system, which makes AR possible.
To achieve this kind of interaction AR-enabled phones need not one, not two but three cameras, as well as the usual front-facing selfie cam. The additional two cameras on the back enable the motion tracking and depth perception that the Tango platform needs to simulate the real-world behavior of objects and characters.
But the complexity of the technology and the processing power it needs to run smoothly has been a big challenge for hardware manufacturers.
The Tango AR platform launched on relatively low-spec hardware, which had ‘only’ 4GB of RAM. Since the memory was 4GB, apps running on the Tango platform tended to shut down after a few minutes because the RAM became overloaded.
Enter the ASUS ZenFone AR with a whopping 8GB of ram and a much faster Snapdragon 821 processor, rendering the surroundings and AR features on its crystal clear 5.7” display – suddenly the technology runs how it was intended. The ASUS ZenFone AR is also the world’s first Tango and Google Daydream-ready phone, meaning that its TriCam system can handle cutting edge, depth-aware AR, while the beautiful, sharp display and hefty processing power will make regular VR applications every bit as “dreamlike” as Google imagined.
Top AR apps to check out now!
Ingress, from the makers of Pokémon Go, is a showcase for AR gaming.
So, what can you do with your new AR-enabled TriCam phone? Well, here are a few ideas.
Games: Using augmented reality and it’s sophisticated depth perception, Ingress transforms the real world around you into the landscape for a global game of mystery, intrigue, and competition. The game’s creds are solid–it won the Grand Prize at the 2015 Japanese Media Arts Festival.
Most useful: We’ve all used Shazam to work out what song is playing on the radio, in-store or at a bar. But what if you could Shazam anything around you to learn more and interact with it. Now you can.
Fun and practical: Google’s new Translate AR will translate signs and menus, in context, anywhere you point your camera. You have to see it to believe it.
Enhanced reading: Layar is a great app for bringing your experience of print and other physical media alive. Hold a magazine in your hand and point your phone at it to unlock a world of 3D video and renderings that pop out of the page’s surface.
Educational: Learning anatomy is fascinating for a lot of people, but for medical students, it’s, err… essential. Anatomy 4D is going to revolutionize this learning process and for the rest of us, we can peep inside our bodies and find out how they work. Pretty neat!
AR makes education fun
3D-animated models can make subjects more immersive.
With our list of apps, there’s a ton of cool AR stuff to check out by yourself. But what about when you’re out and about? Well, now museums and public spaces can use Tango AR to enhance the experience for visitors. Google has already launched this capability at the Detroit Institute of Arts and will soon be unveiling many more museums that are Tango AR friendly.
Armed with the ZenFone AR, smartphone users can unlock a world of interactive and highly visual learning opportunities for kids and adults alike. Using their phone, they can peer inside sarcophagi to see the mummified bodies inside. They can also bring back to life ancient architecture lost to time, like the colorful facades of limestone reliefs, or the Babylonian Ishtar Gasote. Museum AR apps also offer fun quizzes and games guaranteed to ensure kids get maximum benefit from days out at the museum!
World’s first AR and VR-enabled smartphone
Slip the ZenFome AR into Google’s Daydream headset to activate its VR function.
The ASUS ZenFone AR can also be used with virtual reality (VR) apps. By clipping the phone into Daydream View VR goggles and using apps that employ split-screen images and surround sound, smartphone users can enjoy completely immersive 3D environments. Although this time it’s you that will need to make sure you don’t trip over your coffee table!
So, if you’re ready to leap into extraordinary and immersive experiences that augment the world around you, it’s time to think about getting an AR phone. With the ZenFone AR, enabled with Google’s powerful Tango AR platform you’ll be ready to dive right in–it’s a new world of fun!