Project Tango: Google Aims to Bring 3D Sensor Tech to Phones

Google recently announced a new initiative dubbed “Project Tango” that plans to integrate 3D sensor technology in a series of prototype Android smartphones. The venture involves a 5-inch phone built by Google that features sensors for tracking the device’s movement while modeling the surrounding space and landscape. “This could impact future game design, virtual set construction and location scouting,” notes ETC staffer Phil Lelyveld. “It could enable crowd-sourced 3D stitching of location modeling data.”

“The project’s leaders have called for a select group of developers to help and begin building test use cases for the devices, including experimentation in indoor mapping, gaming and work on algorithms that process the sensor data taken in by the device,” reports Re/code.

“At the core of Google’s freshly announced experimental Project Tango smartphone platform is a vision processor called the Myriad 1, manufactured by chip startup Movidius and its CEO Remi El-Ouazzane,” notes TechCrunch in a detailed report. “The chip is being used by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group, retained in the Motorola split, to enable developers to access computer vision processing never before seen on a phone.”

“Our goal is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion,” said Johnny Chung Lee, project lead at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group.

Google is not the first to pursue this idea. Apple recently acquired Israeli 3D sensor startup Primesense for about $360 million, and Intel has reference designs to bring 3D camera tech to laptops.

The Project Tango site includes a demo video. Interested parties can also apply for a limited number of developer kits.