Google's Project Tango Dances With 3D Sensors In A Smartphone

The latest off-the-wall endeavor from Google is called “Project Tango”, and it’s a smartphone equipped with technology that can 3D map any environment you find yourself in--in real time. A product of Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology And Projects) group, Project Tango takes a quarter million measurements every second to create a living, breathing 3D model of wherever you are.

If you’re not immediately visualizing killer uses for this technology, you’re not alone--but that’s because the technology itself will require the creativity of software developers to come up with compelling uses for it.

Project Tango

The ATAP team offers a few ideas, such as gaming overlays of real-life environments, assisting the visually impaired with navigating a given area (with auditory cues for avoiding obstructions), locating products in a store, and getting accurate measurements of a room before running off to the store to find furniture.

Those are all interesting-enough applications, but they all require a great deal more work from other parties to be effective. For instance, the idea of finding your way through a building in real time requires that the building has to be mapped first and the user’s device given access to that map.

There’s no doubt that devs will come up with a number of terrific ideas for Project Tango’s technology, and Google is seeding 200 of the prototype smartphones to developers, with all kits expected to be distributed by March 14th. Sign up here to be one of the fortunate few.