Google’s most recent big invention – Glass – still frightens a lot of people, due to the fear of losing privacy. And for a reason, since the camera inside of Google Glass is expected to be capable of making a picture anytime a user wants to. However, in case things won’t work out with Google Glass, the company has a new showpiece, called Project Tango. The team behind Tango works on a smartphone that can map the entire space around a user. The phone system could be very useful for the gaming industry as well as it can help the visually impaired.
The idea behind Tango is that a user will walk around a room with the smartphone. A motion tracking camera and a depth sensor will then automatically measure the size and shape of the room, whilst making a quarter million 3D measurements every second. For instance, if you would take a little stroll through your living room, it would help the phone to create a 3D map of your house. Google eventually hopes to create a world map in order to be able to give its customers accurate directions to any point in the world.
Google’s Advance Technology and Projects (ATAP) leads this project and one of ATAP’s developers thinks it could potentially have big impacts on the gaming industry: “Imagine that you scan a small section of your living room and then are able to generate a little game world in it. I don’t know of any other controller or gaming device that can do that.” ATAP adds: “Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character. Imagine competing against a friend for control over physical space with your own miniature army.”
Another goal is to help visually impaired people to navigate unfamiliar areas. The phone’s world map could do so by, inter alia, providing audio cues and vibrations if you walk near an obstacle. Project leader Johnny Lee, writes the following on his website: “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”
The company has created 200 prototypes and they are set to be sent to developers who want to build mapping tools, games, new algorithms and more by March 14th. However, in case you’re not part of the happy few of developers and if you’re interested in the phone yourself, here’s a video about the project:
Credits image/ video: Google.