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Google's Project Tango creates 3D-maps of your surroundings

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Google is making 200 development kits of the 3D-sensing Tango phone available in order to push the technology further. 

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), formerly a division of Motorola, has announced Project Tango, in which it has been working with academic and industrial partners from nine countries, and utilized research from the last decade in the areas of robotics and computer vision. According to Google the goal of the project is "to give mobile devices a human scale understanding of space and motion". 

In practice, this means that future mobile devices could have the ability to sense 3D-motion and geometry, allowing them to capture 3D-scans of their environment and use the data to create 3D-maps or game environments, among other things. Google's Project Tango page puts it this way:

"What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if directions to a new location didn't stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?"

An early prototype device has a 5-inch screen and is running Android. It is capable of tracking its full 3D motion and simultaneously creating a map of the environment. The sensors in the phone capture over a quarter million 3D measurements per second. The device's position and orientation is updated in real-time and the data combined into a single 3D-model of the space around it.

"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?"

We can even imagine being able to see how a virtual piece of furniture would look and fit into a given location in a room before buying it.

The Tango phone includes development APIs to provide position, orientation and depth data to standard Android applications written in Java, C/C++, as well as the Unity Game Engine. The hardware includes a 4MP camera, two computer vision processors, an integrated depth sensor and a motion tracker. 

To push the technology forward Google is making 200 development kits available to be used in for projects in the areas of indoor navigation/mapping, single/multiplayer games that use physical space, and new algorithms for processing sensor data. They have also reserved some units for other applications, that haven't been though of yet. You can apply for a development kit and find out more about the project on Google's Project Tango website. TechCrunch has also found an actual 3D indoor map that has been created with the Tango phone.


 

Comments

Total comments: 43
Shiranai

I'm very concerned that so many people here yell "Thats so great" and are completely unaware of which major step this is in terms of privacy violation.
They already know what youre looking for, your passwords, your mails, your friends, who you talk with, your photos etc... And now they wanna know how your appartment looks. Whats next? Scanning your brain of what you think? WTF?

5 upvotes
Lars Rehm

You can always choose to not use a particular technology if it concerns you in any way.

2 upvotes
Mr Lumière

no Lars you can't. Not when everyone around you uses it either you like it or not. What you said is ignorant of the reach of such technology. It takes one person to map the home of 100s who chose not to use it.

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm

then don't allow any phones in your home...the fact is that all those people who complain about intrusion of privacy by technology are mostly not concerned enough to stop using that technology. Don't use a smartphone or the internet, because if you do data will be generated and almost certainly stored, it's necessary for most of those services to work. Personally I am probably more of a positively thinking person and like to think this stuff can help a lot of people in a lot of ways, so I would not have any trouble trying it out and using it as soon as it's available.

0 upvotes
CBRWizzer

That is discrimination by technology.
I believe people have the rights for privacy without opting out of technology.

I myself will never let anything like that map anything private.

1 upvote
dendyman

Yes, and some people wanted to opt out of the motor car in favour of horse drawn vehicles. Too dangerous by half.

0 upvotes
vadims

Looks like something that can be immensely usable for blind people -- provided that somebody figures out the UI.

1 upvote
drh681

neat trick.
neater would be to link two phones and integrate the info through a shared dataset.

0 upvotes
mrdancer

That's likely already been done, and with all the phones, not just two of them. It just hasn't been done to our public knowledge.

0 upvotes
AlCab

Could you tell us more about that ?

0 upvotes
Jonathan Sabin

This is GREAT, because my house is only one-dimensional and I'd like to be able to move around a bit--even if it is just in virtual space. <end snark>

1 upvote
Matewka

Isn't the April Fool's Day next saturday? I'm confused. Either they lost the track of time or we (mankind) are making a huge step in the technology.

0 upvotes
sebastian huvenaars

This opens a window for amazing applications!

and...

This opens a window for scary applications!

Based on experience, they'll probably market the first and execute the latter...

5 upvotes
Roland Karlsson

Who are they?

0 upvotes
sebastian huvenaars

The powers that be.

0 upvotes
Michel F

I'd like to know more about the amazing applications you are talking about. I've read the article and apart from being potentially useful to the blind, I fail to see what can be so amazing about this thing. The more people rely on technology to get by, the less human beings interact with each other.

1 upvote
sebastian huvenaars

You are interacting with me now, nice to meet you ;)

0 upvotes
Mr Lumière

who are "they", well for starters the NSA and their friends...

0 upvotes
CBRWizzer

Right.
Instead of stealing credit card numbers, people will steal your floor plans, and an indexed list of your belongings.

Google can partner itself for tango.

0 upvotes
Everlast66

Ok, so now NSA wants to know whats inside your house.

6 upvotes
jaygeephoto

I'm eagerly awaiting it's cinematic debut in the next Tom Cruise thriller. Other than that it looks like it would be infinitely useful in finding the men's room in any establishment.

1 upvote
horseracingphoto

wasn't this how Batman caught the Joker in The Dark Knight, I thought Fox destroyed it !!!!

2 upvotes
JohnEwing

Never trust anyone who says "very unique".

4 upvotes
anselsmyhero

-- or "free gift"

2 upvotes
Wildbegonia

What is with the name? Tango? Give me a break. Why is it that when someone thinks that has created something out of the norm, out of this world and quite sophisticated, they decide to call it Tango? I really need glasses....

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Eleson

huh? Projects are internal, and this is a project name. Products are external and the name will not be tango...

0 upvotes
David Elliott Lewis

Almost any new tool, just like a simple knife, can help or hurt - can create or destroy. The beneficial applications appear to be many, however.

This new technology also seems to have shrunk down the sensor tech found in an xBox connect and extended its usefulness by applying its data streams to build persistent 3d maps of the environment.

The possibilities are many. I will be excited to see where it goes.

David Elliott Lewis, San Francisco

3 upvotes
Rooru S

aaannnnd after this, Google creates SkyNet right?

4 upvotes
Jun2

This has to be illegal

4 upvotes
AngusCNH

If this tech can be use for the blind people. then it will be a very useful tech.

of cause , first of all if the information can transfer to the brain as visual image first....

0 upvotes
Benarm

What could possibly go wrong with this?

3 upvotes
Zeisschen

So now the NSA gets free 3D maps of all our private houses. Fantastic idea!
I'll pass

14 upvotes
Zeisschen

I must be a terrorist because I'm interested in privacy? LOL
But wait: Terrorists would be the first that want to know how all the worlds buildings looks from the inside as it makes their terrorism even much easier.
Seems like you got successfully brainwashed by american politicians and media.
Giving up our privacy for the senseless "war against terrorism", that's what it's all about.

12 upvotes
sixtiesphotographer

Zeisschen,

Boris was being sarcastic, not serious.

8 upvotes
frederic86

Why do you hate freedom, Zeisschen?

2 upvotes
Francis Carver

Google has got the money, not so much the brain.

3 upvotes
Rocky Mtn Old Boy

Turn it off if you've something to hide...

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Zeisschen

@rocky
I want privacy, am I already suspicious now because I don't expose my whole life on Facebook and Twitter or I f people can't see my house inside in 3D?
Better only let your good friends go into your house. Even the tv cableman makes a 3D map of your house and habits in 2 minutes. Lots of criminals could be interested in what you have and how to navigate there in complete darkness. Potential is endless. This technology in everyone's hands won't make the world a better place for sure...

1 upvote
Michel F

Just throw away your cell phone or tablet. The NSA won't get anything. Problem solved.

0 upvotes
Michel F

Zeisschen, I understand your point of view but if you really value your privacy that much, you shouldn't even be online.

0 upvotes
Zeisschen

"You shouldnt be online"
"You should throw away your tablet"

I rather live a modern lifestyle but the government and other institutions have to protect us, not spy us. They do the opposite of what they should, did you even watch the news? Not Fox government propaganda, I mean news! A tool like this in Googles (NSA supporter) hands is just too suspicious. That's why I'll simply pass and people in my house simply won't activate their smartphone cameras, it's that easy. People looking at me with googles goggle glases will get a kick in their face.

1 upvote
elvisM

Your county probably already has your floor plan on file...really this would be awesome for architects, engineers, and contractors

0 upvotes
flowty

This is not going into Phones. This is going to fit into Google Glasses, for augmented reality applications.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 43
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