Google is redefining what a smartphone is, with the advent of Project Tango. The Mountainview company is betting on the next generation phone that will have motion and depth tracking. The five inch device is packed with cameras that will render the world around you in real time.
Microsoft Kinect pioneered how normal people can interact with their game system and Google has hired former lead engineers to work on their phone. Over 200 developer units are currently available to corporations and schools. The intention is to make a slew of new apps, augmented reality games and tools to really showcase what the phone can do.
The essence of Tango is to utilize the phone sensors to make 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. One of the more interesting aspects is the compatibility with the Unity Game Engine.
“Project Tango strives to give mobile devices a human-like understanding of space and motion through advanced sensor fusion and computer vision, enabling new and enhanced types of user experiences – including 3D scanning, indoor navigation and immersive gaming,” said Johnny Lee, ATAP’s technical program lead.
What are the practical uses of this phone in the real world? Think about someone who is visually impaired and the phone can render the world around them. Audio cues can be given on what shops they pass by, or if there is an intersection ahead.