Google's Project Tango developing phone that views in 3-D

Google is looking for developers who will develop unusual applications around its platform

Google Project Tango logo

Google Project Tango logo

Google has been working for the last one year on 3-D smartphones that aim to give the devices greater awareness of space and motion in natural environments.

The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices "a human-scale understanding of space and motion," wrote Johnny Lee, project lead at Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, in a Google+ post.

The awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way people interact with others and their environment, Lee and his team wrote. "Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen."

The possibilities for the technology are myriad, according to Google. Users can walk around their homes with the 3-D smartphones to get the dimensions before going out to buy furniture, or use the phone to find the exact shelf where a product is located in a store, it said on the Project Tango page. The visually-impaired could also use the new Project Tango technology to navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places.

The current prototype of the smartphone is a 5-inch phone running Android, which combines robotics and computer vision technology to track the 3-D motion of the phone, while creating a 3-D model of the surrounding environment.

The prototypes, algorithms, and APIs (application programming interfaces) are still in development, and the experimental devices are "intended only for the adventurous and are not a final shipping product," Google said.

The company is counting on professional developers to use the platform for a variety of applications, and said it has 200 development kits that it plans to distribute by March 14 to developers.

It has allocated some of the devices for projects in the areas of indoor navigation and mapping, single and multiplayer games that use physical space, and new algorithms for processing sensor data. "We have also set aside units for applications we haven't thought of yet," Google said, while asking developers to be creative, specific and bold.

Google has worked with universities, research labs, and industrial partners across nine countries to develop the platform, including the University of Minnesota, George Washington University, German tech firm Bosch and the Open Source Robotics Foundation.

Movidius in San Mateo, California, said its Myriad 1 vision processor platform will power Project Tango. The vision processor platform is described as an ultra-low power, high-performance programmable architecture of computational chips, software and development tools that enables devices to "intelligently understand and contextualize their surroundings."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphonesGoogleAndroidmobile applicationspopular scienceconsumer electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?