Tag Archives: Google AR and VR

100 Years of Bauhaus on Google Arts & Culture

Even if you’ve never heard of the Bauhaus movement, you’ve probably seen its influence all around you. From traffic signs to office furniture, the legendary design school changed the way our world looks and functions.  

One hundred years after the movement began in Germany, we’re still surrounded by Bauhaus ideas about art, technology and craftsmanship, which are reflected in Google Arts & Culture's newest collection—"Bauhaus Everywhere". The collection came together in partnership with the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Germany—as part of our multi-year digitization collaboration—and six other partners including the IIT Institute of Design or the Guggenheim Museum.

Bauhaus design aimed to improve people's lives through functional design. Well-known members of the school, such as its founder Walter Gropius, the controversial Hannes Meyer or Gunta Stölzl, as one of many female designers and artists, have a lasting influence on architecture, furniture design and even typefaces

This project digitizes over 10,000 objects, offers virtual tours of iconic buildings and exhibits over 400 artworks captured with our Art Camera. The result is over 45 online exhibitions curated by our seven partners featuring icons like the world known tubular steel armchair or imagery of “Africa's Finest Campus” and the (perhaps unexpectedly) best selling bauhaus design, wallpaper

There are also unique insights into the everyday student life of Bauhaus including the renowned Bauhaus parties and the forward thinking empowerment of women. And, because the school’s design principles spread far beyond Germany and Europe, we’ve created a Google Earth Voyager Tour to show how people as far away as Japan, India or Brazil were inspired by Bauhaus. 

New shapes, materials and approaches to construction made Bauhaus proposals stand out. Its architectural designs  were especially known for their avantgarde approach. But many of these bold building plans stayed just that, and were never actually constructed. In collaboration with experts from the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, the collection contains buildings that had only ever existed on paper and in the minds of their creators. 

Together we assembled archival sketches, scribbles and vague descriptions to create augmented reality models of three visionary structures. In the Google Arts & Culture app anyone can now explore “Round House” by Carl Fieger, “BAMBOS” by Marcel Breuer and “Court House” by Eduard Ludwig from inside and outside. 

László Moholy-Nagy, a teacher at the Bauhaus, put it this way: "Design is not a profession, design is an attitude." We hope you’ll see that the Bauhaus attitude is not just everywhere but, through this exhibit, also for everyone. 

A VR series about women with the “courage to question”

Many of us who fight for women’s rights have the privilege of knowing mighty women and girls. They are the courageous ones--those who insist on and fight for a future where women and girls are free from violence and can live out their full potential. Most of these women’s rights defenders are not widely known, yet work tirelessly at grave risk to themselves and their families. But they are dogged. They are fearless. They are unbowed. They are leaders. And on this International Women's Day, we celebrate them, and the impact that women have had all around the world.

Along with UN Women, and the civil society organizations Vital Voices and Global Fund for Women, we identified four women’s rights defenders who are building movements against mass incarceration, human trafficking, child marriage and sexual violence. Their stories are the stories of our virtual reality series, “Courage to Question.”

Courage to Question: Series Trailer

Now pardoned and free after 21 years of confinement, Alice Johnson discusses her wrenching as a mother behind bars, the impact of mass incarceration on women, and why she fights for the women she left behind.

Lydia Cacho shares her experience as a Mexican journalist, author, and human rights activist who, despite receiving multiple threats to her safety and life over the years, fights tirelessly to tell the stories of women and girls who have been trafficked. (link to video)

Asha Kowtal—General Secretary of the Dalit Women’s Rights movement in India—walks us through a day in the life of Dalit women. Formerly known as “untouchables,” they’re members of the lowest caste in India and are fighting back against systems of oppression. (link to video)

Chief Theresa Kachindamoto of the Dedza District in the central region of Malawi shares the story of her upbringing, the practice of child marriage in her country, and her fight to eradicate it. (link to video)

Captured by an all-female crew in VR180, these films make you feel like you’re actually there with these brave women, who are remaking a world that allows women and girls to be free and equal. The films are best viewed in a VR headset like Cardboard, but you can also view them on YouTube with your phone or desktop.

As a human rights lawyer, I know that so often human rights organizations receive the scraps of new technology. “Courage to Question” gives these four amazing women a platform to tell their stories and advance their human rights work.

We’ll be premiering these videos at the United Nations today for the opening ceremony of International Women’s Day. This kicks off an ongoing discussion around digital rights as women’s rights, and gender inclusion and equity in the context of tech. We’ll also be sharing that Google has signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which have been developed by the United Nations Global Compact and UN Women to help organizations advance and empower women in the workplace and beyond. These principles build on our ongoing commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace for all, as well as support for education and economic opportunity for women globally.

In honor of all that has been fought for and hard-won—and all that is still left to do—we give thanks to these four women, and the many others, on whose shoulders we stand, and whose work we are grateful for.

Seeing art in a new way: VR tools let characters jump right in

We all know you’re not supposed to touch the pieces of art in a museum, but what if you could jump inside them? In YouTube creator SoKrispy’s latest VR video, Do Not Touch, the characters do just that: they literally dive into the artwork and become part of the scene.   

Do Not Touch GIF

A scene From SoKrispyMedia’s “Do Not Touch” VR Video

Visual effects this advanced usually require physical equipment like green screens that can be costly and difficult to set up. SoKrispy, however, was able to achieve many of the effects in post-production with Google’s Jump VR Video suite, along with Adobe Creative Suite, Unreal Engine, and Autodesk 3DS Max.

To make it look like the actors were actually inside the pictures, SoKrispyMedia used Jump’s "high-quality stitching" option, a feature that lets creators achieve a green screen effect without needing a physical screen. They also utilized this feature in one of their earlier works, “Video Game Vehicle,” after discovering in post-production that the physical green screen they had used while filming wasn’t big enough. High-quality stitching let them “fix it in post” with a few clicks, rather than spending days reshooting with a wraparound green screen.


Jump’s high-quality depth maps allow creators to get a green screen effect without a physical green screen

So how does this feature work? In addition to producing higher quality stitches, it lets creators generate razor-sharp depth maps that estimate the distance (or depth) of every pixel in the scene. This enables the use of editing software like Adobe Premiere or After Effects to extract elements or even composite a new scene in the background, all without a physical screen or meticulous manual rotoscoping. And in the latest release of After Effects, our partners at Adobe have made it even easier to leverage Jump's depth maps in post-production.

SoKrispy ZDepth in Adobe GIF.gif

Generating depth maps in Jump Manager gives you more flexibility in post-production

In addition to using depth maps, SoKrispyMedia used Jump’s high-quality stitches to realistically light computer generated (CG) objects with Image Based Lighting. Instead of having to capture separate light probes, creators can get the same effect with Jump’s high bit-depth 360° stitches. This saves valuable time on set and gives creators the ability to seamlessly integrate CG into live action footage with accurate lighting and reflections.


Side by side still of CG object’s from Video Game Vehicle with and without image based lighting

SoKrispyMedia also utilized a third, software-based post-production tool to enhance their Jump footage. Using a technique detailed on the Google AI blog called “style transfer," they applied artificial intelligence to their footage to transform the look of each character into the style of the painting they’ve jumped into.  

Style Transfer.gif

Another scene From “Do Not Touch”

Taken together, these software-based features—high-quality stitching, Image Based Lighting and style transfer—provide creators with new ways to share their vision with the world. As SoKrispyMedia’s Director and VFX supervisor Sam Wickert explains, “The most important aspect of these projects is to make VR content that is really worth watching in a headset, and these tools let us do that.” For audiences, this means we can look forward to traveling to all sorts of new destinations in the virtual world … from a video game environment to a museum where you actually jump into the paintings to wherever creators take us next.

VR Labs Open Doors of Opportunity for STEM Students

For students pursuing STEM degrees like biology, hands-on time in a lab can be as essential as time spent in the lecture hall or library. In fact, for many science-based degrees, it’s required. But getting access to a lab isn’t always easy. Many students don't live close enough to a lab facility or a university that offers their degree of choice. Others find it hard to get enough lab time because student demand is too high or their school can't afford to provide unlimited access.

Through its ability to take people anywhere, virtual reality can be a powerful resource for students who otherwise would not have access to the lab time they need to complete their degrees.  We partnered with science education company Labster to create more than 30 virtual labs on the Daydream platform, where students can do their lab work in VR without having to walk, drive, or fly to a campus.  These VR labs can be particularly useful to students and faculty at the rapidly-growing number of schools that offer online science degrees. 

Earlier this month, students in Arizona State University’s online B.S. in Biological Sciences program began working in these virtual labs for full course credit. Soon students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, McMaster University, and other institutions across North America and Europe will be able to do their lab work in VR as well.  

Through its ability to take people anywhere, virtual reality can be a powerful resource for students who otherwise would not have access to the lab time they need to complete their degrees.

UsingDaydream View or the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, students can do things that previously necessitated a physical presence in a lab, like examining organisms under a microscope and sequencing DNA. They can also do things that wouldn’t be possible in the physical world, like seeing and manipulating DNA at the molecular level and visiting Astakos IV, a newly discovered exoplanet being explored as a potential habitat for human beings.

Because there’s no time limit, students can review theories, concepts, and techniques as many times as they want. In addition, students receive personalized feedback in the app to help them understand which concepts they need to review, and which techniques need more practice.


We’re hoping to make the virtual lab experience available to more students worldwide, including undergraduates, graduate students, and even high schoolers.

If you’d like to bring the virtual lab experience to your school, you can learn more at labster.com/vr.

We’re bringing VR Creator Lab to Europe

YouTube’s Virtual Reality creators have shown us that VR is a powerful tool for storytelling, artistic expression, and teaching.  We want more creators across the world to be able to share their stories in this emerging medium. To make it easier and less expensive to create in VR, we introduced the VR180 format and we’re partnering with YouTube and VR Scout to launch a global series of VR180 training academies, which we call VR Creator Lab.

Today we’re announcing that VR Creator Lab is coming to London. Participants will receive between $30,000 and $40,000 USD in funding towards their VR project, attend a three day “boot camp” September 18-20, 2018, and receive three months of training from leading VR instructors and filmmakers.  

Applications are open through 5pm British Summer Time on August 6, 2018.  YouTube creators with a minimum of 10,000 subscribers and independent filmmakers are eligible. Participants must be 18+ years old. We’ll select the participants based on the quality of their pitches and the feasibility of completing their projects within the three month timeframe.

The London Creator Lab will follow our first Lab, which we launched in Los Angeles last month.  We put together a brief video featuring a few of the participants:

Creators at VR Creator Lab Los Angeles share their experience

Creators at VR Creator Lab Los Angeles share their experience

Even if you’re not selected to join us in London, you can check out our guide to getting started with VR180cameras and editing tools.  We believe that everyone benefits when creators share their creative vision with the world, so we’re always on the lookout for new ways to make it easier and more affordable to create in VR.  We hope you’ll give VR180 filmmaking a try!

Bring abstract concepts to life with AR expeditions

Over the last three years, Google Expeditions has helped students go on virtual field trips to far-off places like Machu Picchu, the International Space Station and the Galapagos Islands. The more you look around those places in virtual reality (VR), the more you notice all the amazing things that are there. And while we’ve seen first hand how powerful a tool VR is for going places, we think augmented reality (AR) is the best way to learn more about the things you find there. Imagine walking around a life-sized African elephant in your classroom or putting a museum's worth of ancient Greek statues on your table.

Last year at Google I/O we announced the Google Expeditions AR Pioneer Program, and over the last school year, one million students have used AR in their classrooms. With AR expeditions, teachers can bring digital 3D objects into their classrooms to help their students learn about everything from biology to Impressionist art.

Starting today, Expeditions AR tours are available to anyone via the Google Expeditions app on both Android and iOS. We’ve also updated the Expeditions app to help you discover new tours, find your saved tours, and more easily start a solo adventure. It’s never been easier to start a tour on your own, at home with your family or in the classroom.

AR takes the abstract and makes it concrete to the students. We wouldn’t be able to see a heart right on the desk, what it looks like when beating, and the blood circulating. Darin Nakakihara
Irvine Unified School District

Google Expeditions makes it easy to guide yourself or an entire classroom through more than 100 AR and 800 VR tours created by Google Arts & Culture partners like the Smithsonian Freer|Sackler, Museo Dolores Olmedo, and Smarthistory, as well as pedagogical partners like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hodder Education a division of Hachette, Oxford University Press and Aquila Education.

Expeditions AR gif

Upgrade the Google Expeditions app now to try out AR expeditions with a compatible Android (ARCore) or iOS (ARKit) device. And starting today, interested schools can also purchase the first Expeditions AR/VR kits from Best Buy Education. Like VR, we believe AR can enhance the way we understand the world around us—it’s show-and-tell for a new generation.

Now students can create their own VR tours

Editor’s note: For Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re highlighting a few ways Google is supporting teachers—including Tour Creator, which we launched today to help schools create their own VR tours. Follow along on Twitter throughout the week to see more on how we’re celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.

Since 2015, Google Expeditions has brought more than 3 million students to places like the Burj Khalifa, Antarctica, and Machu Picchu with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Both teachers and students have told us that they’d love to have a way to also share their own experiences in VR. As Jen Zurawski, an educator with Wisconsin’s West De Pere School District, put it: “With Expeditions, our students had access to a wide range of tours outside our geographical area, but we wanted to create tours here in our own community."  

That’s why we’re introducing Tour Creator, which enables students, teachers, and anyone with a story to tell, to make a VR tour using imagery from Google Street View or their own 360 photos. The tool is designed to let you produce professional-level VR content without a steep learning curve. “The technology gets out of the way and enables students to focus on crafting fantastic visual stories,” explains Charlie Reisinger, a school Technology Director in Pennsylvania.

Once you’ve created your tour, you can publish it to Poly, Google’s library of 3D content. From Poly, it’s  easy to view. All you need to do is open the link in your browser or view in Google Cardboard. You can also embed it on your school's website for more people to enjoy. Plus, later this year, we’ll add the ability to import these tours into the Expeditions application.

Tour Creator- Show people your world

Here’s how a school in Lancaster, PA is using Tour Creator to show why they love where they live.

"Being able to work with Tour Creator has been an awesome experience,” said Jennifer Newton, a school media coordinator in Georgia. “It has allowed our students from a small town in Georgia to tell our story to the world.”

To build your first tour, visit g.co/tourcreator. Get started by showing us what makes your community special and why you #LoveWhereYouLive!

Experience augmented reality together with new updates to ARCore

Three months ago, we launched ARCore, Google’s platform for building augmented reality (AR) experiences. There are already hundreds of apps on the Google Play Store that are built on ARCore and help you see the world in a whole new way. For example, with Human Anatomy you can visualize and learn about the intricacies of the nervous system in 3D. Magic Plan lets you create a floor plan for your next remodel just by walking around the house. And Jenga AR lets you stack blocks on your dining room table with no cleanup needed after your tower collapses.


As announced today at Google I/O, we’re rolling out a major update to ARCore to help developers build more collaborative and immersive augmented reality apps.

  • Shared AR experiences:Many things in life are better when you do them with other people. That’s true of AR too, which is why we’re introducing a capability called Cloud Anchors that will enable new types of collaborative AR experiences, like redecorating your home, playing games and painting a community mural—all together with your friends. You’ll be able to do this across Android and iOS.


Just a Line will be updated with Cloud Anchors, and available on Android & iOS in the coming weeks

  • AR all around you:ARCore now features Vertical Plane Detection which means you can place AR objects on more surfaces, like textured walls. This opens up new experiences like viewing artwork above your mantlepiece before buying it. And thanks to a capability called Augmented Images, you’ll be able to bring images to life just by pointing your phone at them—like seeing what’s inside a box without opening it.  

ARCore: Augmented Images
  • Faster AR development:With Sceneform, Java developers can now build immersive, 3D apps without having to learn complicated APIs like OpenGL. They can use it to build AR apps from scratch as well as add AR features to existing ones. And it’s highly optimized for mobile.


The New York Times used Sceneform for faster AR development

Developers can start building with these new capabilities today, and you can try augmented reality apps enabled by ARCore on the Google Play Store.

Google Lens: real-time answers to questions about the world around you

There’s so much information available online, but many of the questions we have are about the world right in front of us. That’s why we started working on Google Lens, to put the answers right where the questions are, and let you do more with what you see.

Last year, we introduced Lens in Google Photos and the Assistant. People are already using it to answer all kinds of questions—especially when they’re difficult to describe in a search box, like “what type of dog is that?” or “what’s that building called?”

Today at Google I/O, we announced that Lens will now be available directly in the camera app on supported devices from LGE, Motorola, Xiaomi, Sony Mobile, HMD/Nokia, Transsion, TCL, OnePlus, BQ, Asus, and of course the Google Pixel. We also announced three updates that enable Lens to answer more questions, about more things, more quickly:

First, smart text selection connects the words you see with the answers and actions you need. You can copy and paste text from the real world—like recipes, gift card codes, or Wi-Fi passwords—to your phone. Lens helps you make sense of a page of words by showing you relevant information and photos. Say you’re at a restaurant and see the name of a dish you don’t recognize—Lens will show you a picture to give you a better idea.  This requires not just recognizing shapes of letters, but also the meaning and context behind the words. This is where all our years of language understanding in Search help.

lens_menu_050718 (1).gif

Second, sometimes your question is not, “what is that exact thing?” but instead, "what are things like it?" Now, with style match, if an outfit or home decor item catch your eye, you can open Lens and not only get info on that specific item—like reviews—but see things in a similar style that fit the look you like.


Third, Lens now works in real time. It’s able to proactively surface information instantly—and anchor it to the things you see. Now you’ll be able to browse the world around you, just by pointing your camera. This is only possible with state-of-the-art machine learning, using both on-device intelligence and cloud TPUs, to identify billions of words, phrases, places, and things in a split second.

lens_multielements_050718 (1).gif

Much like voice, we see vision as a fundamental shift in computing and a multi-year journey. We’re excited about the progress we’re making with Google Lens features that will start rolling out over the next few weeks.

Introducing the first Daydream standalone VR headset and new ways to capture memories

Back in January, we announced the Lenovo Mirage Solo, the first standalone virtual reality headset that runs Daydream. Alongside it, we unveiled the Lenovo Mirage Camera, the first camera built for VR180. Designed with VR capture and playback in mind, these devices work great separately and together. And both are available for purchase today.

More immersive

The Mirage Solo puts everything you need for mobile VR in a single device. You don't need a smartphone, PC, or any external sensors—just pick it up, put it on, and you're in VR in seconds.

The headset was designed with comfort in mind, and it has a wide field of view and an advanced display that’s optimized for VR. It also features WorldSense, a powerful new technology that enables PC-quality positional tracking on a mobile device, without the need for any additional sensors. With it, you can duck, dodge and lean, step backward, forward or side-to-side. All of this makes for a more natural and immersive experience, so you really feel like you’re there.


Lenovo Mirage Solo

With over 350 games, apps and experiences in the Daydream library, there's tons to see and do. WorldSense unlocks new gameplay elements that bring the virtual world to life, and more than 70 of these titles make use of the technology, including Blade Runner: Revelations, Extreme Whiteout, Narrows, BBC Earth Live in VR, Fire Escape, Eclipse: Edge of Light, Virtual Virtual Reality, Merry Snowballs, and Rez Infinite. So whether you’re a gamer or an explorer, there’s something for everyone.

Point and shoot VR capture

Alongside the Mirage Solo, we worked with Lenovo to develop the first VR180 consumer camera, the Lenovo Mirage Camera. VR180 lets anyone capture immersive VR content with point and shoot simplicity. Photos and videos taken with the camera transport you back to the moment of capture with a 180 degree field of view and crisp, three-dimensional imagery.

There’s no better place to relive your VR180 memories than in the Lenovo Mirage Solo headset. And with support for VR180 built into Google Photos, you can easily share those moments with your friends and family—regardless of what device they have.


Lenovo Mirage Camera

We can’t wait for you to try out the Lenovo Mirage Solo and Mirage Camera to dive into new immersive experiences, and to start capturing your favorite moments in VR.