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Home / Trends / Using Collectible Pins, Google shows how AR changes the navigation

Using Collectible Pins, Google shows how AR changes the navigation

Over the past nine years, Google and its affiliates have been distributing collectible pens with Android characters to the participants at the Mobile World Congress. They are fun, cute and often create a lively collector's scene. Collect all and you can buy cool Google products.

The pins are back for 2019, but they are also connected through Augmented Reality (AR) pins, which are retrieved and collected in an AR app. But it is far from a frivolous waste of time for those who should work. It's a demonstration of what realistic augmented reality maps, navigation and information might look like in the future.


First of all we want to talk about the functionality of the app and the AR-elements. At MWC 201

9, outside of Google's own stand and various top partners, there are AR markers that look like QR codes on the floor. Use the Android Partner Walk app to scan these codes with your phone's camera to view and collect AR versions of the physical Android pins. All you need is an AR-Core enabled smartphone and the right app.

  MWC 2019 Google
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

The experience is similar to Google Pixel's use of the funny AR elements with Star Wars and other characters. The Android characters are well animated 3D creations, often complete with sound. Once you've admired it, you can add the character to your collection with just a tap. Think of it as Pokémon Go but with Android characters and less running around.

It's all on the surface, but it's exciting what happens next. The app gives hints and instructions on where the next PIN, in AR on the screen, should be collected with directional markers. It's Google Maps, at the local level and in augmented reality.

Simplified Logical Navigation

We talked to Google's director of VR / AR design, Joshua To, about how the AR pins at MWC help show what's going to happen in the future. He said the technology is similar to that of Google, the recently released AR Walk feature that undergoes beta testing. These are not just QR codes on the floor, they are procedurally generated tags that understand their location so they can be routed from the app to the next PIN.

  MWC 2019 Google
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends [19659007] At MWC 2019 it's fun, but imagine the same technology used in large spaces like shopping malls and airports, intricate areas that are difficult to navigate , or massive events such as Olympics is used. Joshua To was excited about the potential of this localized AR technology in interesting places. Using the example of a cityscape or a historical structure, he said by scanning an AR marker that you could imagine what the building or the environment looked like 50 years ago, just as it looks in real life today.

Now think about the same technology at Olympia, where information about events, world records, and the latest results can be displayed in real time before being directed to the next event, using all contextual markers and AR statements.

Looking to the future

While some will complain that we are even more tied to our phone screens and are looking at the monuments in AR instead of seeing the real thing right in front of us. We do not agree. Carefully implemented, this next generation navigation could do the opposite by giving clearer directions that will make us look up, not down. In addition, AR Core is not exclusive to the most expensive devices. Hundreds of millions of Android phones around the world are compatible and open the future implementation of the navigation and information system to a large number of people.

  MWC 2019 Google
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Joshua To Told Digital Trends:

"The experience we've had at the Mobile World Congress demonstrates the power of AR to help people Navigate the world around you and get relevant and contextual information to further enhance your experience. We have all experienced being lost or wanting to know more about something that we have discovered in the real world in an urgent way. It was also inspiring to see how the AR experience made people smile when they tried. "

From the exhibition space to the real world

Back in the exhibition space you have to work hard Collect all the AR pins. There are 15 partners involved, including Samsung, Huawei, LG and Qualcomm, four MWC locations and two locations on Google's stands. In addition, some AR pins are only available on certain days, much like the physical pins that are offered change every day. There are a total of 21 characters to see and collect, each containing more than 60 unique animations.

Google has launched its AR navigation system in Google I / O 2018 and a select group of local guides (the name that was mentioned) are members of the Community Review Program) are currently testing the AR Walk feature in Google Maps. The AR Partner Walk at MWC 2019 is an extension of this and gives us a better idea of ​​how we will use the function in the real world.

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