Google launches Project Tango to build 3D capable smartphone

Google has developed early prototypes of smartphones that have the ability to sense 3D motion and geometry, and is calling on professional developers to "push the technology forward" and build user experiences on top of this platform.

Project Tango: Google rolls out 200 prototype dev kits
Project Tango: Google rolls out 200 prototype dev kits

The phone, which Google describes as "experimental devices intended only for the adventurous," for now, is a five inch handset that runs Android and contains customised hardware and software designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment.

Google said the aim of this project, dubbed "Project Tango," is to "give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion," because "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 sensors in the phone allow it to make over a quarter of a million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real-time, combining the data into a single 3D model of the space around people.

Google said it is "looking for professional developers with dreams of creating more than a touch-screen app" who will "push the technology forward and build great user experiences" for the platform.

The company said it has 200 prototype development kits and have allocated some devices for projects in the areas of indoor navigation and mapping, single and multiplayer games that use physical space, and new algorithms for processing sensor data.

"We have also set aside units for applications we haven't thought of yet," said Google.

The company said it expects to have distributed all its available units by 14 March this year.  

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