Remember those scenes in Iron Man where Tony Stark fiddles around with an interactive hologram? Of course, you do. Well, Google is about to bring that same experience to reality, because one of their latest projects seeks to make this technology available for everyone—right from your favorite device.

Article is an upcoming 3D model viewer which works on any web browser (yes, even Internet Explorer). Whether it’s on a desktop computer or a mobile device, a 3D model can be rotated, zoomed, or panned to view from different angles.

But this isn’t the only exciting part. When opened on an AR-capable device, users can tap an icon on the lower-right side of an image to bring up a reticle that brings the model into the living world; the model sprouts up on-screen from the reticle’s location and allows you to walk around it, given you still have your device on hand.

As anybody who works in 3D knows, things can get hairy pretty quick with constant zooming, panning, and rotating. That said, using Article is a lot more intuitive than you would think. To reposition the image, a user simply has to drag it around like a piece of copied text. Mobile users, on the other hand, simply drag the image by using two fingers. Impressively, the models even have proper lighting and shadows to help blend into the real-world environment.

The project was made with cross-browser JavaScript library/API Three.js, as it makes rendering with WebGL more accessible to developers with its large library of examples and tutorials. To help make 3D models more fluid in the real world, Google uses a low polygon count, lowers the lighting and shadow resolution, and created a desktop AR emulator which renders their effects in an efficient manner.

Seeing as almost everyone from every age group already uses the Internet, having a more interactive browser experience can only help make a more immersive experience.

Think about it: you will be able to look at a 3D model of an item before purchasing it online. Learning online classes would be a lot easier now that they aren’t limited to using a 2D screen. These are just some of the ways having a 3D model viewer could improve life for those who don’t want to leave the confines of their own home. For those who want to get started making their own Article models, Google’s AR devsite is where you want to head.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.