Google’s new ‘Project Tango’ uses specialised smartphones to map the world around you.
Maps are great, we’ve got satellite navigation built right into our smartphones nowadays, making it easier than ever to walk through the streets of a new city, or take a trip into the countryside, safe in the knowledge you can always find your way back. But what about inside? Sure, art galleries and museums have floor plans, but knowing where to go and what lies around the next corner isn’t always written down in front of you, that’s where ‘Project Tango’ from Google comes in.
The tech giant keeps its fingers in many pies, from self-driving cars to futuristic eyewear, but Tango uses existing technology to map your surroundings in real-time. Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technologies and Products) team have put together an Android smartphone packing a host of sensors designed to track the phone’s position in 3D space, with over 250,000 measurements being taken every second.
Using custom APIs the phone’s position is pumped into a variety of Android apps, used to create 3D models of the surrounding environment, play augmented reality games and help create new mapping data for Google.
The best part, you can get your hands on one. Well, sort of. Much like the Glass Explorer program Google has an extremely limited batch of Tango devices (just 200), which potential users can register for a chance to test out. In order to apply, Google is looking for those who are either developers or who come from a development background, with previous examples of works to prove it. Provided you still fit the bill, you then have to outline how you would use a Tango device in an innovate way. Simple right?
As you can see in the video, the technology is unlike anything we’re used to seeing from commercially available Android devices, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be integrated in future. Google already collects a plethora of anonymous information from Android devices in order to improve its products, including maps. Smartphones with Tango’s tech could help build the next version of Street View allowing or turbocharge the development of advanced AR experiences.
What do you think about ‘Project Tango’? How would you use the technology at your disposal? Let us know in the comments down below.