INTERNET GIANT Google announced Project Tango on Thursday, a prototype Android smartphone that incorporates 3D sensors so that it can map the world around it.
The 5in handset prototype features custom hardware and software that enables it to make more than a quarter of a million 3D measurements each second, tracking three-dimensional motion to create a visual 3D map of the space around it. Google is hoping that Project Tango will be able to to create a map of the entire world, and in turn be able to offer directions to any specific point.
These 3D mapping capabilities are similar to technology developed by Primesense, the company behind Microsoft's Kinect sensor, which Apple acquired last year.
"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 goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion," Google's Advanced Technologies Project explained.
"What if you never found yourself lost in a new building again? What if directions to a new location didn't stop at the street address?"
That's not all that Google is visioning, as the firm also sees Project Tango as a gateway to fully immersive augmented reality gaming.
"Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character. Imagine competing against a friend for control over territories in your home with your own miniature army, or hiding secret virtual treasures in physical places around the world?"
Google said it has over 200 prototype devices ready that it is preparing to give them out to developers before 14 March.
Google added, "We're looking for professional developers with dreams of creating more than a touchscreen app. These devices were built with the unique ability to sense 3D motion and geometry. We want partners who will push the technology forward and build great user experiences on top of this platform." µ