Google's 'Project Tango' 3D mapping smartphone prototype revealed

While Google may be selling off its Motorola Mobility division to Lenovo in the near future, the company is still working on new smartphone technology on its own. This week, Google announced "Project Tango", a smartphone created by a Google research team called ATAP in collaboration with other companies and groups.

The Project Tango website shows the smartphone in action. It's a 5-inch device and, of course, it uses Android, but what's special above this phone is the sensors inside its case. They can not only track the position of the smartphone in a full 3D space, but they can also map what's outside the phone. "Project Tango" can make as many as 250,000 3D measurements every second, according to Google.

That sounds cool but what does that mean, exactly? Google thinks that the sensors in "Project Tango" combined with the right software can open up the smartphone to do things that current devices cannot do. It can help people navigate inside a large building, or map a home to assist in placing new pieces of furniture in just the right location. The phone could even be used for gaming, creating a virtual world based on the 3D map made in the real one.

Google has created 200 hardware dev kits for "Project Tango" and will be sending a limited number of them to software developers to see what they can do with this prototype. There's no word on when this phone will be released to the general public.

Source: Project Tango | Image via Google

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Now we need our phones to orientate ourselves in an euclidian space or to determine possible object's position in a plane? If only we had something that would help us like that, like... I don't know... eyes?

The way tech companies want to increase our dependance on technology is alarming. This projects is truly ridiculous. I can see it as a great tool for blind people or for making quick 3d models of a certain space. Anything else it's laughable.

Not sure if you were commenting on me, but I use what I find useful regardless of what company make it and dont like others bias, or media, or the competition sway me. I am a fan of most tech and most of what I own, Google doesnt make.

This is why Google is a tech leader and some companies *coughcough* are not. Big dreams, big ideas, and the conviction to see them through.

VictorWho said,
This is why Google is a tech leader and some companies *coughcough* are not. Big dreams, big ideas, and the conviction to see them through.

On the off chance you were talking about Microsoft, Photosynth has been doing basically this for a few years now

VictorWho said,
This is why Google is a tech leader and some companies *coughcough* are not. Big dreams, big ideas, and the conviction to see them through.

I don't know about the conviction to see them through. Google is a company loaded with great ideas, but a lot of them don't always make it. Still, they're ventures are pretty interesting. I'll certainly give them credit where it's due, even if I'm not their biggest fan right now.

Looks like some people here need to get out their tin foil hats....

Anyway, this can be a real useful product/tech if done correctly.

techbeck said,
Looks like some people here need to get out their tin foil hats....

Anyway, this can be a real useful product/tech if done correctly.

umm...can't that be said of most things? I am pretty sure that the same thing was/is said about "targeted ads".

I'm sure the NSA will love to get a hold of that map of your room to see everything you're not supposed to have, as well as google to sell you ads after they detect your dog sitting next to you.

neonspark said,
I'm sure the NSA will love to get a hold of that map of your room to see everything you're not supposed to have, as well as google to sell you ads after they detect your dog sitting next to you.

LOL...oh please. This is what you call "progress." Eventually, this will be a burning issue for hot topic discussions from your house to the White House. However, we're not there yet.

Secondly, Google doesn't sell me ads. Do they sell you ads? I don't even see ads on my Gmail. However, I do see ads on Outlook mail....and they are for ads for things I don't have any care for.

VictorWho said,

LOL...oh please. This is what you call "progress." Eventually, this will be a burning issue for hot topic discussions from your house to the White House. However, we're not there yet.

Secondly, Google doesn't sell me ads. Do they sell you ads? I don't even see ads on my Gmail. However, I do see ads on Outlook mail....and they are for ads for things I don't have any care for.


look, we get it - you love Google.
MS ad choices show ads you don't care for cos they haven't harvested all your personal data and profiled you. Gmail most certainly does push ads at you. You can get bypass apps ir even pay. But even if you have paid gmail, no ads, but they still read, index your mails and store it about you. Its not paranoia my friend, its Google's business model. If you're cool with that then use their services. I for one am not cool with that, so don't.

I can hear the design meetings now.

"We need more information from our users -- like really personal stuff like what's in their homes, in their offices, you know, stuff our street cameras can't reach."

"Yeah, that would be really useful to our advertisers. Could we build something into our phones to gather that?"

"Sure, but with all the controversy about spying lately, who'd go buy it?"

"I know! Let's sell it as a way to navigate inside a large building or playing games based on the phones location! We can even make a cool website with futuristic graphics. They'll love it!"

"Hmm.. we're going to need a few more hard drives to store all this stuff....

Forjo said,
I can hear the design meetings now.

"We need more information from our users -- like really personal stuff like what's in their homes, in their offices, you know, stuff our street cameras can't reach."

"Yeah, that would be really useful to our advertisers. Could we build something into our phones to gather that?"

"Sure, but with all the controversy about spying lately, who'd go buy it?"

"I know! Let's sell it as a way to navigate inside a large building or playing games based on the phones location! We can even make a cool website with futuristic graphics. They'll love it!"

"Hmm.. we're going to need a few more hard drives to store all this stuff....

LOL...you're weird and paranoid.

Structure Sensor for the iPad that launched from Kickstarter is really awesome at this. Hopefully this one will eventually reach that quality as well. It's good to have options.

I think 99% of the use cases will be something like "You are near the Coca-Cola, buy-one-get-one-free today if you share this on Google+".

Chicane-UK said,
Amazing! Google Maps but for indoors. The privacy implications are scary but overall I think it sounds brilliant.

This is MS photosynth, why are people surprised??