Google's ATAP team is doing cool stuff with Project Tango – like sending it into space to help astronauts do stuff. Of course, those of us on earth also want to get our hands on this upcoming tech to see what it's all about, as well (though probably not for the $1k asking price of the dev unit). According to ATAP team member Regina Dugan in a talk today at I/O 2014, there should be a retail version made by LG hitting the streets next year.
Yesterday, Google unveiled its Project Tango tablet dev kit, which is packing some of the most beastly hardware we've ever seen in an Android device: NVIDIA's Tegra K1 chip, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state storage, and multiple sensors and cameras to do what Tango does. What wasn't really discussed, however, is the 3D engine that will run the show. We're now getting a little closer look at how that could possibly work thanks to a new concept video from Mantis Vision, the company that produces the technology used for 3D data manipulation in Project Tango.
Google has just announced the official Project Tango tablet development kit, an insanely powerful slate powered by NVIDIA's Tegra K1 processor. This thing is beastly - 7" display (unknown type / resolution), 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, Tegra K1 quad-core processor (not the dual-core 64-bit Denver), motion-tracking cameras, integrated depth sensing, Android KitKat, and LTE. The big catch? It's only for developers, and it will cost $1024. Yikes. Granted, this is a high-tech, cutting-edge experimental product designed as a reference and development tool, not something to check your Gmail on while browsing Reddit.
We've already seen that Google is working on some pretty incredible things with Project Tango, the space-aware smartphone project that's essentially capable of capturing 3D maps of indoor locations. The team behind Tango – Google's ATAP – is already working with NASA to use prototypes in autonomous robots to aid astronauts on the Space Station, but now it looks a Tango-esque device could be coming a lot closer to home than that.
So we all know that Project Tango is cool – programing a mobile device to be aware of its own surroundings just as people are can be potentially beneficial in many ways. NASA has clearly seen something in the in Tango as well, as the company has been working with Google since last year to utilize the project with its own robotic platform called SPHERES. In a nutshell, it wants to incorporate Tango into autonomous, space-aware robots that will take some of the load off of astronauts on the International Space Station by doing some of the work for them.
Google's newly announced Project Tango phone is packed full of sensors to give it a three dimensional understanding of its surroundings. Just how good is it at creating a 3D map? Well, now there's a video showing off what the prototype can do.
The test video comes courtesy of computer vision firm Matterport, which is one of the few companies Google chose to give an early prototype to. In the video you can see the phone being swept around the room, and it's not some perfectly designed test space – there's a bunch of junk all over the place.
Google has just pulled the curtain off Project Tango, the latest innovation to come to us from its Advanced Technology and Projects hardware group (the folks also involved with Project Ara). This device is capable of tracking its movement within an area while creating a 3D map of the environment at the same time. It could be immensely useful for indoor navigation or the creation of highly immersive video games.