Tango On The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro: A Necessary Half Measure

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bit_user

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Nice writeup. I have to agree on the size, weight, and balance. Coming from their 7" development tablet, it's not much of a step down, in screen size. I had to marvel at what they could fit in a $500 device, actually.

I would point out that the depth sensor aids in tracking & area learning more than you probably think. Neither of those functions have been demonstrated to work as robustly on a standard smart phone.

I also wanted to point out that it's standard for SLAM systems to use the IMU (compass, accelerometer, and gyroscope) for coarse tracking, and then refine the estimate by registering with features seen by the camera(s).

Anyhow, I'd be interested in knowing whether your tracking stability could be improved by hanging some posters and putting down some other landmarks in your dining room. While it might like clean, flat surfaces, it doesn't actually want or need them to be featureless. The old tablet actually had a fair amount of difficulty tracking in an empty, white room.

IMO, they need to fund some game devs to make more AR games, or to utilize Tango features in existing hit games. Ultimately, it might be Facebook & Microsoft that make AR happen. It feels like Google still isn't throwing a huge amount of weight behind this.
 

bit_user

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What Tango needs is AR glasses
Yes. Let's see it on Project Alloy, or some other MR HMD. I am waiting for that day.

This is not to impugn Lenovo. The company (along with Asus) should be lauded for having the courage to produce a device with no guarantee of success.
Again, this is spot on. They deserve a lot of credit for braving the waters and being first to take the plunge.

I think you're correct that AR smartphones are ultimately just a transitional phase that I hope will pass quickly. Maybe, once AR apps & tech is sufficiently refined, the phone-based AR experience won't be quite so painful, and it'll be a usable substitute for a HMD.
 

alextheblue

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No thanks. Not for any extensive usage, anyway. It's fine for certain tasks, but for AR to be truly useful and powerful, you need to be able to free your hands from a phone so they can be used to interact with virtual elements more naturally. I'm hoping for something along the lines of an ultra-compact version of HoloLens, in a few years perhaps. Eventually such a device might even be able to replace a traditional phone, if you so choose.

whenever I used AR apps, the Phab 2 Pro got hot, and fast.
Relying only on the ARM SoC means lots of heat and power consumed. Any serious AR effort (at least with CURRENT mobile SoCs) should probably include custom hardware to greatly offload work from the CPU/GPU blocks.
 

bit_user

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This is one reason I consider Facebook's recent AR push to be jumping the gun. No matter how good it is (and that remains to be seen), people are going to heavily limit use of anything that kills their battery so fast.

I'm still not convinced the HPU in MS' Hololens is really better than a mobile GPU with whatever custom instructions they put in its DSP blocks. Clearly, they needed more horsepower than Cherry Trail's GPU could supply, but I think GPUs generally offer a good solution. Again, perhaps with the addition of a few custom instructions or custom blocks.
 
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