Defining the Future of AR/VR Beyond Entertainment: The Journey of Tianlu Tang

Back in 2018, a young interaction designer named Tianlu Tang took her first step into the intriguing world of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR). Armed with a keen understanding of prototyping and a versatile skillset, Tang dived headfirst into immersive technologies, driven by a desire to shape the evolution of AR/VR beyond entertainment.

“At its core, AR/VR technology represents a new frontier that extends far beyond entertainment,” Tang emphasizes. “As designers, we have the responsibility to uncover meaningful applications that bring true value to users.”

At Apple, Tang’s talents were honed as an AR creative Technologist. It was a profound learning experience where she developed her knack for prototyping, bringing her innovative designs to life.

However, it was during her tenure at Trigger Global Inc, as an XR Innovator, that Tang truly began to reshape the entertainment landscape. Here, she conceived and executed projects that seamlessly blended technology and entertainment, pioneering a new form of user experience that transcended the norms.

One of Tang’s most remarkable achievements at Trigger was the ‘Jurassic World: Dominion Dinotracker AR app’. Released globally in 2022 in tandem with the blockbuster film, the application created a groundbreaking interactive experience, allowing users to discover, track, and interact with life-size dinosaurs in their real-life surroundings. This project demonstrated the immersive potential of AR, bringing cinematic universes closer to audiences like never before.

Jurassic World: Dominion Dinotracker AR app

Jurassic World: Dominion Dinotracker AR app

Another significant project was the ‘PGA Jr League Safari Par-tee AR app’, a mobile game that converted golf into a multiplayer augmented reality experience for children. “This project was about more than just fun. It was about using AR to inspire a love for sports in the younger generation, while also encouraging them to venture outdoors and engage with their peers,” Tang reflects. The application was praised for its innovative use of AR technology, following in the footsteps of games like Pokémon Go that promote outdoor meetups and active play.

PGA Jr League Safari Par-tee AR app

PGA Jr League Safari Par-tee AR app

Tang’s latest endeavor, ‘The Future of Training,’ in collaboration with Verizon and Qualcomm, resulted in a groundbreaking mixed reality application for football training. This project, which won the esteemed 2023 AWE Auggie Award, went beyond entertainment by bridging the gap between technology and real-world skill development, addressing practical needs and delivering true value to users. Tang’s versatility in designing across different form factors, from mobile apps to head-mounted displays, was showcased in this innovative application.

The Future of Training 

The Future of Training

After joining Google in 2023 as an Interaction Designer, in AR/VR, Tang continued to challenge the boundaries of AR/VR applications. Although details about her ongoing projects are under wraps, her unique vision ensures that her work remains at the forefront of the industry’s evolution.

Looking back at her career, Tang reflects, “From Apple to Google, every step I’ve taken in this industry has been driven by the desire to push boundaries and redefine how we interact with technology.”

In addition to her practical accomplishments, Tang’s journey into AR/VR is marked by a design manifesto that she holds dear. In this new era ushered in by devices like Apple’s Vision Pro, she believes that designers must reimagine the user experience beyond the 2D screen, developing new paradigms for spatial interaction.

“Our mission as designers goes beyond creating engaging apps or games; we’re here to build interfaces that are integral to people’s lives, solving day-to-day needs. I envision a future where AR/VR isn’t just a novelty but a necessity,” Tang passionately states.

Tianlu Tang is a versatile Interaction Designer (UX designer) who excels in prototyping using tools like Unity 3D and coding. This proficiency empowers her to transform design concepts into interactive prototypes with great effectiveness. Tang acknowledges the distinctive challenges of UX design in the AR/VR domain, where interactions unfold in a 3D space, necessitating specialized approaches. “I firmly believe in the power of prototyping to bridge the gap between visionary designs and practical implementation, making it an essential skill for every AR/VR designer,” Tianlu offered her advice to young designers.

With her career steeped in groundbreaking innovations and her vision focused firmly on the future, Tang’s commitment to molding the AR/VR interaction landscape remains as unyielding as ever. As we continue to explore the potential of these emerging technologies, it’s clear that Tianlu Tang will be at the forefront, leading the way. 

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