This last spring at the 2019 developer conference for Google, the company unveiled multiple new technologies that were going to be benefitting the users. Most of them were related to the Google Search Engine, some were directed at the Google Lens application, and some were directed at both.
These new features include the ability to project 3D models strait from the Google search, the ability to scan restaurant menus through your camera for additional information, the ability to calculate a good tip with your bill, and even the ability to translate in real time. The translation in real time was regarded as the biggest and best release of the conference in regards to AR.
This technology can turn any written text into any language you wish. If you are in China and you are having a hard time reading a billboard, simply open the app, point the camera, and watch your phone read it to you in your preferred language. It is pretty simple in theory, but it is widely used, especially because it can do the translations in real time.
Now, thanks to developer Phasedragon, you are able to use the Google Lens technology inside of virtual reality. Although it isn’t built into any headset or any one specific game, this application has the ability to be launched inside of almost any virtual experience.
In a video that Phasedragon posted on Twitter, you can see that he is using a wrist-mounted version of the technology inside of a virtual reality experience. In this video, he can be seen translating Korean words on wooden signs, pamphlets, banners, all to English. If this can be replicated and adopted by virtual reality consumers all across the globe, this is going to be a pretty big feature.
“I just hooked together a few apps, didn’t really do anything myself other than try a bunch to see which ones worked,” stated the creator in a tweet after the video. “Sparkocam to capture the desktop and export as a virtual webcam, android studio emulator to run google lens, and OVR toolkit to display it in VR.”
Phasedragon also stated that his original idea was to have Microsoft Translate do the work, but the inability to project itself as AR inside of VR held it back. He later switched to the Google Lens technology for a better chance at his idea to work, and it did. This is not only a big win for Google and their Lens technology, but for the virtual reality industry as well. With social interactions within virtual reality rising in popularity each and every year, communicating is only going to be more difficult if we cannot read or understand what other users are trying to say. Although this is yet to be integrated into a VR app, you can expect it to be inside of headsets very quickly.
Phasedragon has made a breakthrough for communicating inside of virtual reality, and it should not be understated.
Google is incorporating AR into their technology more and more everyday. We know the headsets that Google has been making for AR are not panning out as they expected them to, so making AR a part of their social apps and utility apps is the best way for them to go for right now. The Google Glass never made big splashes inside of the technical industry as they were hoping, and other AR companies have been producing glasses and wearables that simply outdo the Glass. If Google is going to stay competitive in this realm, they need to keep being creative with how they present augmented reality to their users.