Google is known for its technological breakthroughs in both software and hardware, and one of their most recent projects, the Project Tango, is a great example to support this claim. The company wants to revolutionize how smartphone cameras see the world by making them able to create accurate 3D renders of their surroundings.

Although Project Tango is still in the prototype stage, the company has high hopes for this technology, and as we can seen from the demo video below, the device is able to scan a room and create a 3D image which can be viewed and edited. Matterport CEO, Bill Brown stated that Project Tango has dramatically accelerated the 3D mapping space, and at this time, the project is moving forward faster than anticipated.

A Glimpse into Project Tango

Project Tango is the brainchild of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division, which have been working on the project from its initial stage. They’ve managed to create a smartphone which is able to utilize the information captured by its cameras and use it to render a 3D image of what the user points it at. It does this with the help of a 4 MP camera, a motion tracking camera, a depth sensor and two computer vision processors which can calculate a quarter of a million measurements per second and at the same time, they can track orientation and position in real time.


The software which is the foundation of Project Tango can record color camera data and a full mesh of 3D data at the same time, then composite all this information into a single accurate model. While the resolution of the camera isn’t high enough to create picture-perfect models, Brown is confident that with further development they will be able to perfect it:

We’re getting the same mesh quality that we’re getting from our camera. It doesn’t ‘look’ as good, but that’s just because it’s a prototype.

The smartphone runs stock Android, and as far as software goes, the company is shipping prototypes to developers who are capable of taking advantage of the new technology and implement its in their apps and games. The aim is to create a smartphone which can quickly create a high resolution and highly accurate 3D scan, which can be used in a number of ways (interior design for example), but it doesn’t stop there, as Google sees the technology being implemented in Android games and much more.

If you find this project as interesting as we do, stay tuned for more information, as Matterport will be appearing at Qualcomm’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Also, if you’re a developer who wants to get his hands on the prototype, you can visit the official Project Tango web page and request one.

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I often wonder, where is technology heading? What do all of these advances mean for us and for our future? I sometimes miss the days when I didn’t know how to use a floppy disk, or how a computer CPU works, but now, until I find an answer to my questions, I’ll keep tracking these advances and show everything I find to those who share my interests.