Why Lowe’s is Experimenting with Google Tango

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The great promise of Google’s Tango devices is truly accessible 3D capture for everyone who can afford a mobile device, so it’s natural that Google would want to partner with organizations outside of the commercial 3D technology space.

That’s how Lowe’s Innovation Labs division, which develops technologies for the “future of retail” ended up spending the last few years developing a Tango-based technology for its customers. As the company describes their app “Lowe’s Vision” enables customers “to easily measure any room in their room with the touch of a finger, and style it with virtual Lowe’s products in real-time through augmented reality.”

It’s the most accessible, consumer-friendly use of 3D technology yet: buying stuff.

Lately, Lowe’s Innovation Labs has released details about a Tango application that should make shopping even easier: in-store navigation. Any customers with a Tango device can bust it out upon entering Lowe’s to receive detailed, live directions to the product they want to buy. If you have more than one product to buy, the app calculates the most efficient route through the store. It’s like Google Maps and Waze for the inside of a big box retailer.

How does the app know where to direct you? Lowe’s generates maps by 3D scanning their stores. From this video posted by the Google’s VP of VR and AR at Google, it looks like they’re using handheld devices–maybe even Tango–and SLAM technology.

Whatever the outcome, and whether the technology graduates from the demo stage, it’s clear that 3D technologies are entering the mainstream in a big way.

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About Author

SPAR 3D Editor Sean Higgins produces SPAR 3D's weekly newsletters for 3D-scanning professionals, and spar3d.com. Sean has previously worked as a technical writer, a researcher, a freelance technology writer, and an editor for various arts publications. He has degrees from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, where he studied the history of sound-recording technologies. Sean is a native of Maine and lives in Portland.

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