US: Take the latest in computer vision, power it with custom-built hardware and chipsets, and put Google behind the wheel. Welcome to Project Tango, an attempt to revolutionise mobile mapping. Google has launched a new research project aimed at bringing 3D technology to smartphones for potential applications such as indoor mapping, gaming and helping blind people navigate. Project Tango is an ambitious attempt by ATAP, a skunkworks division with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) roots, to give smartphones the ability to do realistic 3D mapping and create virtual experiences as the phone's owner moves through the real world.
Tango exists as a 5-inch Android phone prototype, running customised hardware and software which can track the "full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment," says Google. Suggested applications range from the mundane, such as capturing the dimensions of your home before furniture shopping simply by waving the phone around a room, to the helpful, such as aiding the visually impaired inside unfamiliar buildings, to the frivolous, such as turning a hallway into a virtual-reality game space.
The company is putting Tango in the hands of developers in the coming months, starting with 200 devices distributed by the middle of March. Developers can submit their proposals to the ATAP group at the Project Tango Web site.
The phone's sensors make more than 250 million 3D measurements every second and use that data to build a 3D model of the phone's surroundings. It includes custom APIs that give developers access to the phone's position, orientation, and depth.
Below is the video of Google's Project Tango.