The smartphone has built-in Kinect functionality - like 3D sensors and other components to track motion and map your surroundings, which allows for advanced motion and depth tracking without consuming a lot of power. The handset could enable enhanced indoor navigation and immersive gaming, among other things.
The device's sensors allow it make over 250,000 3D measurements every second and update its position in real-time.
Potential applications may include indoor mapping, helping the visually-impaired navigate unfamiliar indoor places unassisted and gaming.
It has offered 200 prototypes to developers keen to make apps for it.
In addition to all the usual cameras and sensors, Tango has a depth sensor, a motion tracking camera, and two computer vision coprocessors, called the Myriad 1, from Movidius (a mobile computer vision startup).
The two additional sensors and processors constantly scan your environment, allowing the phone to "make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real-time, combining that data into a single 3D model of the space around you", according to extremetech.com.
With Tango, your phone could quite easily compare your current location to a previously generated internal map, and tell you exactly where you are and then direct you to exactly where you want to go, down to the exact shelf location for a product. The same data could also be used to help visually impaired people, by providing audio cues, vibrations if you walk near an obstacle, etc, the tech site said.
"The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion,"
"Over the past year, our team has been working with universities, research labs, and industrial partners spanning nine countries around the world to harvest research from the last decade of work in robotics and computer vision, concentrating that technology into a unique mobile phone. Now, we're ready to put early prototypes into the hands of developers that can imagine the possibilities and help bring those ideas into reality."
Various firms, including Google, have been looking at developing niche technology.
The firm is also working on a "smart contact lens" that can help measure glucose levels in tears.
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