Google's Project Tango wants to map the world with smartphones

Google's Project Tango wants to map the world with smartphones
When Google agreed to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion, the sale agreement did not include the Advanced Technology and Projects group which has pioneered biotech security and the Project Ara modular phone. Today, the group unveiled its newest effort, called Project Tango, which has incredible implications for mapping and augmented reality.

Project Tango is a specially designed smartphone with dual rear cameras - a 4MP camera and a motion sensing camera - a depth sensor, and two "computer vision processors". That may not sound like much, but the system can measure and map the 3D space around it, which is pretty impressive. According to Johnny Lee, the leader of the Project Tango team, the "sensors allow the phone to make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating it’s position and orientation in real-time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you." 

The obvious potential for this project is in navigation. If Google can map the entire world, inside and out, it would be able to offer extremely precise directions, which the team mentions in regards to helping blind people find their way around. It would mean very granular directions both indoors and outdoors going off-road, which isn't something Google does yet. The project would also have huge implications for augmented reality, because you'd be able to overlay information on a 3D model of the world rather than a flat image. 

Google has produced 200 Tango devices and will be distributing them to developers in order to see what other use cases can be created. The technology is still in the very early stages though. 



1. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I don't know if feel exited or confused, I can see how this can help blind people and other things but I'm not too sure about it becoming a mainstream product

2. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Quick timeline 1st: LG Optimus 3D 2nd: Google Project Tango 3rd: The All New HTC One Two Plus

3. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Reminds me of the tech used in the Dark Knight, to map the city and keep track of things.

5. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

yea but it did that in real time using phone signals.

6. Nexus_bear

Posts: 32; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Actually it was the microphones and speakers to map one building. But Its all hypothetical and, I get your point.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.