Much is made of Google
’s Project Ara smartphone
(and for good reason), but that ballyhoo has caused Google’s other special smartphone under development, Project Tango
, to fly under the radar. Even so, iFixit
tore down the intriguing real-time 3D mapping Google ATAP project to see what’s inside.
“Project Tango is basically a camera and sensor array that happens to run on an Android phone,” wrote the iFixit team at the outset of their findings. They found that the phone runs on a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a 5-inch display.
Other choice hardware features include a 9-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass as well as the gear that helps make the 3D mapping possible: a depth-sensing array, infrared projector, and rear-facing 4MP RGB/IR front and 180-degree fisheye cameras. (So, non-standard smartphone hardware.)
There’s also a micro HDMI port, micro USB, and USB 3.0, as well as a 3000mAh battery.
The iFixit folks figured out how to turn the unit on, even though Google apparently didn’t want them to, and the result is fascinating. Project Tango spit out a bright grid of dots that “shows that Tango works similarly to the original Microsoft Kinect, with a grid of dots to be captured by the IR sensors of the 4 MP camera, building a depth map.”
Another juicy tidbit is the PrimeSense (now an Apple joint) Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip’ who knew we’d see a PrimeSense chip in a non-Apple device first? A final interesting note is that several components are actually modular and can be replaced without scrapping the phone. These include all three cameras, the speakers, IR projector, and display assembly.