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Google launches Project Tango smartphone with 3D motion mapping

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Project Tango
Google's Project Tango smartphone concept

Google has launched the Project Tango smartphone prototype that is capable of mapping the 3D world around it.

The current prototype is a 5-inch Android smartphone equipped with special advanced 3D sensors developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) hardware group.

“We are physical beings that live in a 3D world. Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen”, explained Johnny Lee and the ATAP Project Tango Team. “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”

Due to its advanced sensors, the Project Tango smartphone can build a 3D visual map of any room.

“Our current prototype is a 5-inch phone containing customised hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These sensors allow the phone to make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you.”

Developers can sign up for access to the Project Tango prototype phones, but initially only 200 developers will be hand-chosen by Google.

If you’re interested, you are required to outline a clear idea of what you would build with the device by March 14 2014.

Handsets will be allocated to developers who want to build apps for “indoor navigation/mapping, single/multiplayer games that use physical space, and new algorithms for processing sensor data.”

Developers can write apps using Java or C/C and use help from the Unity Game Engines. However, Google reminds you that the Project Tango APIs currently remain a work in progress.

However, the possibilities with Project Tango are very exciting.

“Image playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favourite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path. Imagine competing against a friend for control over territories in your home with your own miniature army or hiding secret virtual treasures in physicals places around the world.”



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