Google develops 3D-scanning, Project Tango small tablet: WSJ

May 23, 2014
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With two back cameras, an infrared sensor and dedicated software, the future Google tablet would have 3D image capture capabilities. They would not be limited to capturing movements, as more traditional 3D cameras do. They would help create a three dimensional map of a user’s physical environment.

These capabilities would be similar to the Project Tango prototype smartphone unveiled by Google last February. The research project is run by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group.

Potential applications of Project Tango range from indoor navigation assistance, which could be of high interest to visually impaired people, to immersive gaming. They could include industrial applications in manufacturing, in large venues like warehouses or stores, and in the military.

Sources told the WSJ that 4,000 prototype devices will go into production early next month and may be distributed at the Google I/O developers conference on June 25. This would be a much larger scale than the smartphone’s distribution: It was given out to only 200 developers.

Raising developers’ interest is key to the future of Project Tango. Last February, Google required developers to write Project Tango apps in Java, C/C++ or with the help of the Unity Game Engines. APIs were not developed yet at the time.

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