A crustacean with scores of tiny eyes could be your newest houseguest — in augmented reality, at least.
Google Arts & Culture released new AR offerings in its free app (for both iPhone and Android) Tuesday that allow users to visualize “ancient creatures” wherever you look through your smart phone. One such visitor is the Cambropachycope, a ten-limbed, lobster-like creature with one large eye made up of many other tiny eyes that scientists were able to visually reconstruct thanks to fossils. It looks like a cousin of the blast-ended skrewt come to life, and it’s pretty delightful to envision certain furry housemates interacting with these cute old monsters.
Google Arts & Culture is Google’s online portal dedicated to showcasing artifacts and experiences from the worlds of art and science. It serves as an enormous repository for online, digitized art collections. Some of its previous app experiences have allowed users to explore archaeological ruins or museums in VR, or even find a painting that best matches your selfie (a feature that was unfortunately a bit racially insensitive).
The new explorations come thanks to partnerships with Moscow’s State Darwin Museum and London’s Natural History Museum. These AR overlays also include two other creepy-cool ancient marine animals, and the skeleton of a blue whale, which usually occupies London’s Natural History Museum. Since a lot of the world can’t visit museums these days, AR offers one way you can check out these artifacts from the safety of your home.
Some other AR visualizations in the app include sculptures from ages past, or, more recently, the Apollo 11 command module.
AR may not be able to replicate the awe of seeing centuries-old fossils and sculptures in person, but being able to visualize these objects and creatures in your own home is fun and worthwhile on its own. You might just learn something, and have fun pestering your dog or cat in the process.