Microsoft HoloLens and Google Tango create a lifelike WWII tank experience

A key concept that’s described by the term augmented reality (AR) is the idea that technology can be used to create an enhanced version of the reality that we experience every day. AR solutions like Microsoft’s HoloLens, therefore, promise to let us experience reality — actual reality, not the fictional environments of virtual reality (VR) — in different and often incredibly helpful ways.

All kinds of different applications for AR have popped up since the technology was first introduced, from incredibly popular games like Pokémon Go to a host of scientific and medical uses for AR. Now, World of Tanks developer Wargaming is showing off a solution that it created for the TankFest 2017 event at the Bovington Tank Museum, as DualShockers reports.

The event was held at the end of June and entertained over 20,000 visitors with live demonstrations of some of the most important and impressive historical fighting vehicles. The museum is host to 300 tanks, and Wargaming is a natural sponsor for the event given the popularity of the World of Tanks game.

The company used HoloLens and Google Project Tango technology to create a life-sized virtual representation of an extremely rare World War II tank. Specifically, the technology models the German tank Sturmmörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61, also known as the “Sturmtiger.” The AR experience provides not only a static view of the Sturmtiger tank, but also shows it sliding into place next to real tanks while demonstrating in a 3D explosive effect how the rocket-assisted shells were fired out of the massive gun barrel.

Although the TankFest event is an active one, participants aren’t actually allowed to go inside the tanks that are on display. The AR solution, however, allowed just that, letting visitors gain a literal inside look at the Sturmtiger and therefore providing a vastly superior educational experience.

AR solutions continue to make their way into the mainstream, and the technology is likely to get a boost given Apple’s announcement of its own ARKit AR solution. The TankFest 2017 exhibit, therefore, is likely to become the norm sooner rather than later, as more organizations and companies embrace AR to make their own events more interactive.