Google's educational Expeditions are expanding to augmented reality

Virtual reality might be generating the headlines in the PC and mobile spaces, but augmented reality is an equally, if not more, exciting prospect that's also gaining a foothold in the here and now. Using Google Tango, a platform that measures motion and position in the real world, VPS maps out a device's immediate surroundings and positioning indoors - a functionality that could have major impact on AR's commercial and personal use. It will look for distinct visual features in your environment to create a map of the location using only the camera on your phone.

VPS is already working in select partner museums and Lowes home improvement stores if you happen to have one of those two Tango-enabled devices. Of course, we'd imagine that companies or users would have to upload additional data in order to provide directions, or perhaps previous data from other VPS users could be shared in the cloud.

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As with all things VR and AR related, Google's vice president of VR, Clay Bavor made the announcement earlier today, calling it the 'ultimate show and tell.' Expeditions has allowed students to take virtual field trips using Google Cardboard without leaving the classroom, with Google claiming 2 million so far. Anyway, Bavor says the idea is that "GPS can get you do the door, and VPS can get you to the exact item you're looking for". In the future, VPS combined with an audio interface could transform the way visually-impaired people move around the world. With VPS, when you arrived at a big-box store like Loew's, instead of going from aisle to aisle looking for a specific tool, you could whip out your Tango-enabled phone to get visual cues to lead you to the right location.

Expeditions AR lessons will be available to schools this fall through a Pioneer Program.

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