Google wants to use special mobile devices to map interior spaces:
The Tango devices work by using a motion tracking camera and a depth sensor built into their backsides. While being moved around, the sensors will detect their orientation and what’s in front of them, using that data to build out a 3D map of their surroundings. While the basic goal is to create detailed indoor maps, Google’s distribution of developer devices speaks to the other possibilities it sees from this type of data: it suggests that Tango could be used to create more realistic augmented reality games or to assist the visually impaired when they’re navigating an unfamiliar area.
Google stresses that the technology is still in early stages, but it still sees it as on the way to reaching millions of people down the road. The Advanced Technology and Projects group will have plenty of time and resources to do that now. Alongside the announcement of Tango, Android chief Sundar Pichai extended a welcome to the team, suggesting that they’ve now fully fallen under Google. The group is also responsible for Project Ara, which hopes to build modular smartphones.
Google’s new motto should be: “Creepy but fascinating!”