Google was one of the first to explore the potential of VR education with its Expeditions app, which let teachers take students on virtual field trips using the inexpensive Google Cardboard VR viewer. This week, though, Expeditions expands beyond VR and into the world of AR.
Google ran a pilot program for Expeditions AR last year, which then utilized the company’s Tango platform on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. A lot has happened since then, though. Namely, Tango has been replaced by ARCore on Android and iOS has its own alternative in Apple’s ARKit. Both represent a much more accessible means of bringing AR to smartphones and, this week, Google launched the full version of Expeditions AR for everyone.
Rather than field trips, Expeditions AR instead allows students to explore 3D models projected into the real world via a smartphone. There’s already a total of 100 AR tours covering a wide range of subjects from Geography to Biology. Students can watch volcanoes bursting to life and explore the human body with the help of a teacher guiding them through each experience. Unlike the VR component, there’s no need for a headset of any kind; the phone handles positional tracking, allowing you to walk around and lean into models.
Expeditions is a free app, though you will need an ARCore or ARKit supported smartphone to use the AR features.