I Spy

Google introduces something new.

Typically, the Google I/O developer conference always has at least one or two new things that make people say "Wow!" The I/O conference this May was no exception. Over time, Google has gone from being a simple search engine to championing mobile computing. But, this year, Google tells us the future is virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). With the introduction of Google Lens, it looks like the company is on the right track.

Tess Townsend of Recode provides an overview of the things Google Lens can do. Google Lens isn't a physical object, rather it's a feature that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality to provide new ways of doing things. When Google Lens is incorporated into Photos, users can not only take a picture of something, Lens will provide more information about what you're viewing. Point your smartphone at a restaurant's storefront and Lens can pull up its menu. Take a picture of something that's got some overhead wires or a fence obstructing the view? No problem, Lens can clear all that out and leave you with just the picture you were trying to get.

Supporting Web Links

Discussion Questions/Activities
  1. Consider showing the class the video "Why Augmented Reality is the Future". Discuss the ideas the narrator shares. What do students think?
  2. Divide the class into small groups. Ask each group to find a recent video demonstrating virtual or augmented reality. If possible, students should try to locate information about the devices or companies involved in the technology shown in the video. Does this technology already exist or is it still a concept? What do students like/dislike about this?
  3. As an individual project, ask students to research a device or product from the early days of VR and AR. Students should write a brief report about the item. Who was the manufacturer? Was it ever available for the general public? How much did it cost? Does it still exist? Students should attempt to answer these questions and any others that seem appropriate.


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