Imagine that you literally had the power to help Google map the world at your fingertips. Now open your eyes and take a look at the technology that is going to make that possible. Project Tango is an innovative new concept for mobile devices that the much beloved Fortune 500 company has been working on as of late.
Borrowing technology and ideas from both the world of video games and mobile devices, Google hopes to reinvent the digital world as we know it, providing not only fun and games but also useful tools that will help many people.
How does a mobile device change the world? With tools such as these:
Motion Tracking Camera
With a motion tracking camera similar to the one used in Microsoft’s Kinect devices, Project Tango will be able to track and record movement, which has actually found many great applications in the real world.
In one case, a scientist used the kinect to map a cave floor in 3D so that further studies could be done in a safe location with accurate information. Clearly, this is a pretty nifty tool for any scientist looking to map and study otherwise unsafe locations, and Google’s new project aims to make it much easier to do so.
Integrated 3D Depth Sensor
Combined with the motion tracking camera, this sensor will make it truly possible to map fully immersive 3D locations in a digital world. You know how Google goes around the world taking photographs of street views for their maps?
Now you’ll have the power of their entire fleet of vehicles in the palm of your hand. The implications for this new technology are incredible, and the opportunities for its use are limitless.
Tegra K1 Processor
What makes both the camera and depth sensor so powerful is the CPU that is going to power it. The K1 Processor is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful processors ever designed for mobile devices.
With a staggering 192 cores, this processor has the power to support games running Unreal Engine 4, meaning it can handle some of the most modern software out there. Google will be using the processing power of the K1 to make proper use of their other hardware.
In addition to these features, Project Tango will also include 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Needless to say, this is big. Among the many ideas suggested for the application of this technology were these incredible concepts:
- Giving audible cues to the visually impaired to help them reach their destination safely
- Mapping areas that might have otherwise been difficult to access
- Measuring an item on the fly to see how it would look in your fully 3D mapped home (essentially try before you buy)
Not only would the technology behind Project Tango make life easier for many, but it would most likely change the way that we view and interact with the world. Imagine the implications for all of our otherwise modern conveniences such as video games, online shopping, and social video. This is a mobile device that could literally change the world. Project Lead Johnny Lee had this to say about the device:
“We are physical beings that live in a 3D world, yet mobile devices today assume that the physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen. Our goal is to give mobile devices a human scale understanding of space and motion.
Unfortunately, if you want to get in on the ground floor of development for the device, you’ll have to plunk down a hefty chunk of cash. For $1,024, Google will be selling the Project Tango 7” Tablet to developers later this summer.
To learn more about the project and what they are hoping to achieve in the world of mobile devices, or to sign up for a development kit, check out their page on Google.