Google is working on an official Project Tango tablet, which will be a 7 inch device that uses different cameras in order to make a 3D map of a surrounding area. The internet giant will produce 4,000 prototypes, which will possibly be given away to app developers during late June’s Google conference I/O. This follows up news of a Project Tango smartphone, a 3D mapping phone following the same principles.
So reports The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper briefed insiders on the company’s plans and so found out about these plans. The tablet by Google will have two implemented cameras at the back, infrared depth sensors and highly advanced software capable of capturing detailed 3D images of objects. Thanks to the implementation of this hardware, the tablet will be able to accurately 3D map a person’s surroundings. In order to do so, it makes 250,000 calculations per second.
The tablets might be given to developers during late June’s Google conference I/O, so they can use them to create well-working apps for these devices. This conference will be held in San Francisco (where else?) and last year’s edition about 5,000 people attended the event.
Project Tango is led by Google’s Advance Technology and Projects (ATAP) and the company announced in February that it is working on a mapping smartphone. Google has created 200 prototypes, which were sent to developers. The smartphone (as well as the tablet) will enable each user to walk around a room with its smartphone and see a 3D map appearing on its screen. If you would take a little stroll through your living room, it would help the phone to create a 3D map of that particular room. 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.
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 when you walk near an obstacle. In February, project leader Johnny Lee wrote the following: “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”
The system will also be used to help NASA’s SPHERES space robots move in any possible direction, thereby assisting humans in space. These robots have one big disadvantage: they have a hard time navigating the space station, as they simply aren’t human beings. Project Tango smartphones could help them improving their navigation. They have been attached to the football-shaped flying robots so they don’t clash.
Image credits: Project Tango.