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.

The ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group at Google has been working together with NASA to test Tango with SPHERES over the last several months, which included an actual Zero G test run in Texas. Check it out:

The duck.

This is clearly just the beginning of something potentially much bigger – once autonomous robots become aware of their surroundings in a real-world sense, the possibilities of how helpful they can be are endless. This type of research could in theory aid the blind, or the deaf, the sick, the elderly – the list goes on and on. And all that goes without mentioning furthering space exploration, or even covering uncharted ground here on our very own planet.

At this point, it's evident that there's already more to Project Tango that we ever imagined.