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?

Discussion

64 comments
quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

that is bullshit 

handheld will always be crap 


hell even the PS vita was supposed to be a PS3 on steroids but it's all hype and non sense 


the 3DS is offering a really good experince but it's still a sub-par device to use for all your other needs (such as browsing and other stuff) 


my best guess is that razer 1000$+ tablet with analog sticks on it 

and it still not as good as a traditonal PC 

deadpen
deadpen

UUUMMMM so can my imagination.

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

4 Megapixel camera?! Ha! My budget £50 phone has 5.

Lamesy
Lamesy

Sounds like it can add utility to a variety of "apps." But I think AR gaming is a dead end, and this won't make it any more interesting.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

The tech sounds great, but I hear it's already available on other devices. Augmented reality that uses this tracking/mapping also sounds promising, but I'd want to experience that on something more immersive than my phone screen. Why does it have to be on my phone?

Urizen5
Urizen5

That first guy in the vid, isn't he the guy that made the head tracking device for the wii video? The vid with the 3d targets and such.

de-astroturfer
de-astroturfer

What are they going to bring out next a DNA scanner which uses your DNA as a maze for you to play pac man in. Because I cant help but wonder why Google wants to scan my house, to use it for games seems a little bit too absurd to be the real reason, more like its part of their home automation plan together with cameras in every room, details about your utility usage,  how often you take a shit and every other bit of information about your private life they can dig up. Googles little Trojan attempt needs to be significantly more sophisticated than a game of virtual hide and seek.

PetJel
PetJel

THIS IS SO GIMMICKY

Hurvl
Hurvl

This sounds very ambitious, but I don't know if it's good for anything. Advanced and fancy sounding technologies are just packs of wasted potential if they can't translate into something you can enjoy.

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

Could this be the coming of Google Home View?  People being able to walk into your home?  Sure that's not how it's starting of course, but give it time.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Google is taking over the world! 

mathg04
mathg04

So in the end, this will add to google street view, so they have captured the whole world, including every living room?
Hooray for the future!

Mojira7
Mojira7

Lol. Was reading this article whilst listening to the Deux Ex: HR main theme. Made reading it scary and interesting at the same time. Must do it again for the next technological article :)

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

Well, this tech is already used on Vita and 3DS so its nothing new, some phones already uses similar tech now when Google do "its awesome and deserves an article just for this", the thing is, this article only proved one thing, that the only thing Google has is a massive ego.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

Now imagine someone playing this while driving, I once caught a bus driver texting while driving.

wexorian
wexorian

I don't care how it will change mobile phone gaming world but this technology and idea is good one

STrugglingFool
STrugglingFool

People are already distracted enough when they walk. Before you know it, people run into light posts because it gives you extra points.

dragon_suplex_x
dragon_suplex_x

So it's glorified AR games- which phones and the 3DS already do? 

ank000
ank000

I guess in few years Google will be the next Apple.

gamergath
gamergath

I will so love this! Oh my GOOGLE!

Razarealm
Razarealm

if only they could create games for phones like they do games for handhelds


Trev9421
Trev9421

It seems like fun. I assume I can map out anything with it? Say I wanted to break into a building at night I could use this in the day to make me a handy map.

berserker66666
berserker66666

This phone will be a quick way to get people to insane asylum if caught in public place

pyro1245
pyro1245

this'll be perfect for those times I want to re-arrange the room but don't want to do any heavy lifting before I see the results.

AUSTREY52
AUSTREY52

On its own the the technology on this phone could easily just end up being very gimmicky but if they were able to pair it with virtual reality technology that could potentially be amazing.


For example you could use the phone to scan, lets say your house and once its got the general structure of it you then turn the structure into a dungeon with the layout of your home then use the virtual reality to interact with and literally navigate the dungeon without worrying about crashing into anything cause the phone can guide you through while the vr can generate enemies and even weapons and such 


If done right this could be beyond amazing

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

Another question might be why would you want to? What practical purpose does it have?

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

This will end up as fun screw around tech. Then be forgotten about next year.

justinneveritt
justinneveritt

I'm curious if this will allow for custom scaling? Say someone makes a small model, like doll house size, then you hold the camera directly over it to collect the topography of that item... then recalled it to be the proper size! The possibilities are endless!

miniwheats7
miniwheats7

It sounds like its best use will be with Google navigation. Maybe it can get me to where I wanna go with less frustration.

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

Sounds like a cool idea, but I imagine Google will hold onto any information received by the phone... and that would be a lot of information.

freedom01
freedom01

nah, I'll pass, mobile (smartphone) gaming is just full of micro transaction plus touchscreen only controls are the worst experience. I'll satisfy my gaming hunger with consoles,handheld, and PC

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

Sounds more like a novelty than something really groundbreaking, in terms of gaming.

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

@Unfallen_Satan Could be simply used to scan the surroundings. Then if you could use google glass/oculus rift to interact with the augmented reality, it might be interesting.

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

@mathg04 Does that mean I'll be able to ShowerView Megan Fox?

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

@Mojira7 You've got plenty of time to wait then what with all the gender/lgbt articles inbetween them. 

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

@Sohereiam How else can I make my neighborhood and route I drive my gameworld?  They're practically telling me I have to drive with my devices out, then making it against the law.

miniwheats7
miniwheats7

Haha I can sense the sarcasm there. Good one.

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

@freedom01  The only games I find to be worth the time and money are those I get from Humble Bundles

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@Sl4cka That's a good combination, but I still expect some unique and useful standalone functionality of a phone with this feature. Otherwise, I would rather have a dedicated glass/scanner set for entertainment. Conversely, Google could push for a glass/phone set as standard mobile gadget like phones are today, provided they make it more useful than just entertainment. Either would convince me.