Google wants to map the world around you with its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group’s newly announced Project Tango. Project Tango is a five-inch prototype Android smartphone with customized software and hardware that is designed to track 3D motion in real time while simultaneously developing a map of the user’s environment.
“Awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way we interact with our environment and each other,” wrote Johnny Lee, project lead for ATAP, on Project Tango’s website. “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. The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”
The phone includes development APIs in order “to provide position, orientation and depth data to standard Android applications written in Java, C/C++, as well as the Unity Game Engine,” according to its website. It also includes a 4MP camera, a motion tracking camera, integrated depth sensing, and two computer vision processors.
Google is looking for developers who can create more than just a touchscreen app and build great user experiences. Only 200 prototype dev kits are available at the moment, with some being allocated for projects interested in indoor navigation, mapping, games that utilize physical space, and algorithms that process sensor data.
Possibilities for the device include being able to give the visually impaired auditory cues on where they are going, capturing dimensions of a home to see where furniture will fit in it, and virtual worlds, according to Google.
“Project Tango is a focused exploration of what might be possible in a mobile platform,” according to the website.
Developers who are chosen can expect the device by March 14.