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According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is building 4,000 prototype tablets equipped with cameras and sensors that can map the world around them. The prototype is said to be a part of Google's Project Tango efforts.

Details of Project Tango were first unveiled in February when Google announced a prototype 5-inch smartphone that can create a three-dimensional map of its user's surroundings through a bevy of cameras and infrared sensors. The device featured a 4-megapixel camera, an image tracking camera and a combined RGB and infrared sensor, through which it could create an accurate 3D rendering of real-world space and objects.

Google sent out 200 of these prototype units to developers so that they can build tailored apps for the device. The search giant is said to take a similar approach with the prototype 7-inch tablet, which will reportedly be distributed to devs ahead of the annual I/O conference in June.

The tablet will feature similar hardware as the prototype smartphone and will include infrared depth sensors, two back-mounted cameras, and "advanced software that can capture precise three-dimensional images of objects," according to sources familiar with the matter. Between Project Tango, Google Glass and the self-driving cars initiative, Google is actively looking to new technologies to solve real-world problems.

Source: Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Via: Engadget

 
There are 16 comments

spock123 says:

This sounds great but my small reptile brain still fights with imagining useful everyday uses for this kind of tech....

I'm sure someone will do something great with it

fuzzylumpkin says:

Coolness (and creepiness) aside, properly implemented this could be of great use to the visually impaired/blind and those with conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia (obviously they'd need to become familiar with it in the early stages or before the condition develops).
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mwara244 says:

This is what I was thinking. Imagine implementing it into Google glass and a vision impaired person wearing this with real time updates to the person telling them how close to an object they are and what the object potentially is. Or if everything is added to a database of 3D collections all integrated into google maps for the visually impaired.

Kind of about time the visually impaired received something other than a stick and a dog

smd4usc says:

Take a 360 degree 3D picture of your room. Pull up a app & buy new furniture. Replace tables, change wall colors. remove walls. It will be here shortly.

Take a 3D picture of yourself & try on clothes without leaving your house.

The advent of 3D printers is creating amazing 3D scanner technology which will further revolutionize retail on mobile.

Planterz says:

Didn't I see this in "The Dark Knight"?

rkcmd says:

Woah. That would be totally awesome, bro. Like, you take a 3d picture of the surroundings, Google will auto awesome it, turn it green and sonar like. Then you download it to Google glass. Totally useful in a fight where the bad guys use the hostages are decoys.

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NoYankees44 says:

This is just like the Microsoft kinetic. As long as you have the right software, a kinetic is a competent 3d scanner. I used one for a project in college. (yes I have a 3d bust of myself on the computer still :) )

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bergeronjc says:

Kinect

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dyinman says:

This goes beyond simple (or not so simple) 3D mapping of a room though. Project Tango is designed around the sensors moving through the room and not sitting in a single place. It is always aware of where it is in a room no matter how you twist, raise, lower, walk, etc. Not taking away from the coolness of Kinect here, but just clarifying the difference.

bergeronjc says:

Make the tablet waterproof and it be great for spelunking and cave exploring

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toukale says:

Yeeeeeesssss! Another big pr win for our overlord google. This is announced as if google just introduced a viable real world product instead of some cool tech demo they have in their labs. This seems to be how they do with a lot of their products. Maybe it's me, but that's been a great formula for they pr machine. Just about every company have nice tech demos in their labs somewhere they could show that would amaze most of us. This reminds me of all those concept videos microsoft was famous for putting out. Talking about microsoft, I am still waiting for any of the products they showed us on some of those concept videos 10 years ago. Another case of "mistaken activities for achievements."

Unlike Microsoft, Google is actually going to bring these devices to consumers in the near future. A consumer version of Glass is set to launch this year, and it is making real strides in the driverless car program. While this 3D imaging tablet may take longer, it might one day be available to buy. And there is also Project Ara

Dizfunctions says:

I can already imagine amazing allocations for this

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gd761 says:

Think about the Security concerns. For the most part, this would be something cool, but what about in a classified area, NOT cool!
What about in some of out Nation's Infrastructure that's Highly Classified where it could become a Danger to National Security.

twolastnames says:

You already can't have a smart phone is most classified areas anyway right?

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dyinman says:

This will finally make fully immersive AR video gaming a reality! Imagine combining this with Oculus Rift, scanning a room, and since the game knows where everything is, you could actually run around your house with the Oculus Rift on. Blast away zombies in your own living room and use your couch as cover!