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New Google AR exhibits let you see prehistoric creatures up close

Google’s Arts & Culture app just added a suite of prehistoric animals and NASA artifacts that are viewable for free with a smartphone.

Google Arts & Culture

A new exhibit featured on the Google Arts & Culture augmented reality app.
Key Takeaways
  • The exhibits are viewable on most smartphones through Google’s free Arts & Culture app.
  • In addition to prehistoric animals, the new exhibits include NASA artifacts and ancient artwork.
  • The Arts & Culture app also lets you project onto your walls famous paintings on display at museums around the world.

Many of the world’s museums are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now you don’t need to leave the couch to see some of the creatures on display at institutions like Moscow’s State Darwin Museum and London’s Natural History Museum. Google’s Arts & Culture app just added a suite of new exhibits that can be viewed in augmented reality through your smartphone.

After installing the app on an ARCore-supported Android device, an iPhone, or an iPad, users can project the creatures onto any surface, take photos and videos, change their size, and move them around the room.

One of the strangest new exhibits is the Cambropachycope, a tiny crustacean from the Cambrian Period that has one of the world’s oldest preserved compound eyes. Here’s a look:

Google Arts & Culture

Other animals on display include:

  • Opabinia — A 500-million-year-old arthropod with five eyes
  • Skeleton of the blue whale – The largest animal to ever exist on Earth
  • Spotted trunkfish — A fish with an unusually strong carapace made from thick hexagonal scale plates called scutes
  • Aegirocassis — A 480-million-year old marine animal, believed to be the oldest large filter feeder, which existed hundreds of millions of years before whales and sharks

Google Arts & Culture

Google’s new AR exhibits also include a handful of NASA artifacts, like the Apollo 11 command module and Neil Armstrong’s A-7L spacesuit, and also a statue of Lanzón, the pre-Inca “smiling god”.

Google Arts & Culture

Not into NASA artifacts or strange fish? You can also use the Arts & Culture app to project onto your walls paintings like Frida Kahlo’s self portraits, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss,” Rembrandt’s “Night Watch,” and Johannes Vermeer’s complete works.


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