Google’s Project Tango phone can turn any room into a game world

Google’s new phone shows off technology that could change how we think about mobile games.

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Google has announced Project Tango, a new phone with highly customized hardware and software designed to allow it to track its motion in full 3D, in real-time, as you hold it.

Project Lead at Google’s Advance Technology and Projects (ATAP) group Johnny Chung Lee said the phone’s sensors make a “quarter million 3D measurements every second,” updating its position and rotation, which is then used to create a 3D model of the environment it’s in.

Naturally, Google pointed out the gaming potential of the device in the video that introduced it to the world.

“Imagine that you scan a small section of your living room and then are able to generate a little game world in it,” said one of the developers who collaborated on the project. “I don’t know of any other controller or gaming device that can do that.”

“Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character,” Google ATAP said. “Imagine competing against a friend for control over physical space with your own miniature army.”

You can catch glimpses of Project Tango’s augmented reality capability in the video. At the 0:47 mark, you can see a developer walking through an office, which through the device is rendered as a snowy forest.

The phone uses a 4-megapixel camera, two “Computer Vision Processors,” integrated depth sensing, and a motion tracking camera.

Lee said he’s been working on Project Tango with universities, research labs, and industrial partners to harvest 10 years of research in robotics and computer vision in order to create the unique phone.

“Our goal is to give mobile devices a human scale understanding of space and motion.”

He said Google will distribute development kits to software developers “in the coming months.”

Can you imagine playing games using this technology?

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