At the Google I/O conference last week in San Francisco the Mountain View company updated developers about Project Tango, a technology that uses motion tracking, area learning, and depth perception to precisely map an indoor space and locate itself in it.
The technology is running on a tablet which was initially produced to a few hundred pieces but it is now available (in the United States) on the shelves from Google for $512, a low cost device compared to its specifications: Tegra processor, camera, MEMS sensors, infrared sensor, etc.
During the presentation the Google engineer on stage demonstrated the various possibilities offered by the technology. Beyond a pure indoor location usage, the technology offers two opportunities to link the real and the virtual : in one case a virtual object can be brought and located in a real place, in the other case a real object or a complete location (a living room for example) can be scanned and imported in a virtual setting such as a game.
The precision reached by Google with the sensors onboard the tablet is quite high, about one percent drift (1 meter error when you move 100 meters).
While the current tablet has been developed in cooperation with Nvidia, Google announced another partnership with Qualcomm to enable Project Tango on a snapdragon chipset. While this is still at the stage of a reference design, it is likely that project Tango will come to a smartphone one day or another.
To further develop the ecosystem of developers around Project Tango, Google also launched a competition at the I/O conference with a prize value of $95,000 and three segments: Utility, VR & AR and entertainment.
watch below the full presentation from the conference: