SAN FRANCISCO: Google has unveiled a prototype smartphone with “customised hardware and software” that enables it to create 3D maps of a user’s surroundings.
The device’s sensors allow it make over 250,000 3D measurements every second and update its position in real-time, a BBC report said.
Google said 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.
Google said its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) unit developed the phone as part of a project called Project Tango with help from researchers at various institutions. “We are physical beings that live in a 3D world. Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen,” the company said.
“The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion. “We’re ready to put early prototypes into the hands of developers that can imagine the possibilities and help bring those ideas into reality,” it added.
“What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping?” Google said on its Project Tango web page. What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?”
The technology could also be used for “playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favourite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path.”
Smartphones are equipped with sensors which make over 1.4 million measurements per second, updating the position and rotation of the phone. Various firms have been looking at developing niche technology.