See how Google just made museums cool again

Augmented reality at the museum

Think museums have lost their spark? A Google Tango AR-equipped phone may just change your mind.   

The tech giant announced today that soon Lenovo Phab 2 Pro smartphones will be on offer in museums around the world, starting first with the Detroit Institute of Arts. The phones here are loaded with Lumin, a Tango-based mobile tour built by the museum in partnership with GuidiGO.

Going well beyond your typical audio or guided museum tour, the Phab 2 Pro will help visitors travel back in time - figuratively, of course. You'll get a sense of the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylonia's scale, breathe new life into faded limestone reliefs from Mesopotamia, roll out an ancient seal used for writing, and peer inside a sarcophagus thanks to an AR overlay.

To get a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro at the Institute, just walk up to the front desk and ask for the device. Google says it will bring Tango's AR and location capabilities to more museums soon. 

Tango tech is turning out to be the perfect museum companion as it goes well beyond those little plaques on the wall while still keeping you immersed in the displays. We got the chance to play around with a Tango tablet at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona last year, and found it greatly enhanced the experience.

Now armed with the sleeker and smaller, Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, museum goers may have a whole new reason to get excited about ancient history.