On Friday, Johnny Lee of Google's Advance Technologies and Projects Group (ATAP) announced an ongoing project - Google Tango, the world's first 3-D mapping smartphone.
The phone will ideally be able to sense the surrounding environment and will provide data about it to the user. The team developing the phone is currently using a prototype which is a 5 inch phone containing customised computer processors that are specifically designed to track the full 3D motion of the device, while also creating a map of the environment. These sensors allow the phone to 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.
The phone will run on Android OS and will contain various features that will enable it to provide position, orientation, and depth data to standard Android applications written in Java, C/C++, as well as the Unity Game Engine.
All the technical talk might confuse people as to what the device actually does.
Basically, the phone lets you to scan a room, giving you its dimensions while you're standing still, and allowing you to acquire directions which go beyond a street address. It essentially allows you map and scan the area around you. The phone also might be able to help the visually-impaired navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places.
On their official website the following other applications were listed.
"Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path. 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?"
Although the phone isn't available for the public just yet, it soon will be. Google has announced that they expect to distribute all their available units by March 14, 2014.
On their official website, the team behind the project also mention, "Currently, we have 200 prototype dev kits. We have allocated some of these devices for projects in the areas of indoor navigation/mapping, single/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. Tell us what you would build. Be creative. Be specific. Be bold."
To really understand how mind blowing this new concept is, watch the video.