Google's Project Tango: Phone that Maps the 3D Environment, Can Create Game Worlds from your Living Room [VIDEO]

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Feb 21, 2014 11:46 AM EST

Google revealed the development of what they're calling "Project Tango", a smartphone with the ability to see and map the 3D space around it. Their goal is to create a phone with a human-like understanding of motion and space, which could have implications on indoor navigation, 3D scanning, and the ability to create immersive, mapped game worlds.

The five inch, Android-based phone can map Kinect-style visions of the room around it, and they have been working with "universities, research labs, and industrial partners" to use the last 10 years of robotics and computer vision knowledge to build it.

As the video shows, it looks like they're doing a pretty good job of it. It's clearly been in development for a while, and is being worked on by Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group.

The phone prototype is highly customized to work with the sensors built inside of it, which make "over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you."

Google wants to change how users interact with their environments in a fundamentally different way, and solve the inability to navigate indoors. It could even help the visually impaired find their way when inside.

One of the partners in the video, Chase Cobb, says, "Imagine that you scan a small section of your living room and then are able to generate a little game world in it...I don't know of any other controller or gaming device that can do that at the moment."

Google attracted a lot of experts in related fields to work and consult on this project, and seem to be taking it pretty seriously. They are now offering signups to developers, who can pitch their ideas of what they would do with Tango to receive one of Google's 200 prototype dev kits. See more explanation and information, and find the signup form if you have a brilliant idea, on Tango's site.

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