Google intros Project Tango, an Android smartphone with sensors than can create 3D maps

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| February 20, 2014

Google Project Tango Android smartphone

Google may have agreed to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but the Mountain View firm is keeping a few important pieces of Moto for itself. One of those is the Advanced Technology and Projects group that was behind Moto's Project Ara modular smartphone efforts. Today that group announced its latest experiment, known as Project Tango.

Project Tango is an Android-based smartphone that features a 5-inch display and an advanced set of visual processor technology that's known as Myriad 1. Developed by Movidius, the chipset uses sensors to take in details about its surroundings such as depth, objects and context and then uses that information to create a three-dimensional map.

Johnny Lee, the head of the Project Tango program, explains that "Project Tango strives to give mobile devices a human-like understanding of space and motion through advanced sensor fusion and computer vision, enabling new and enhanced types of user experiences – including 3D scanning, indoor navigation and immersive gaming."

Google explains that the purpose of Project Tango is to get developers to create new, unique applications that take full advantage of this powerful technology. There are currently a total of 200 Project Tango developer kits, some of which are already set aside for use with projects relating to indoor mapping, games that use physical space and new algorithms for processing sensor data. Google also has some kits available for developers that come up with other uses for the technology.

Developers that are interested in applying for a Project Tango dev kit can do just that on the Project Tango website. Google says that due to various restrictions, it can only send Tango kits to incorporated entities or institutions and that it can't send the units to select countries. It's expected that all of the Tango kits will be given out by March 14.

Project Tango sounds like a pretty ambitious effort that is a perfect fit for the Advanced Technology and Projects group. While it may not be as exciting for consumers right now as Project Ara was when it was first announced, it'll definitely be interesting to see what kind of applications and software that developers can cook up using the Tango dev kits. While we wait for the results of the Tango development efforts, you can check out the video that Google put together for Project Tango down below.

Via Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Google