Snapshot of Project Tango|Sasken

  Nov 6, 2014 4:06:24 PM

Project Tango is Google’s brainchild, conceptualized and run by the advanced technology and projects (ATAP) team, which was a part of the erstwhile Motorola Mobility. The objective of the project is to equip devices with depth sensors, motion sensors and software that enable it to build an accurate 3D model of its immediate environment and surroundings in real time. It harnesses years of research in computer vision and robotics to bring the features to small form factor devices like smartphones and tablets. In Google’s parlance, “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human scale understanding of space and motion”[1]

In its characteristic style, google is creating an ecosystem of developers to utilize the varied global technology expertise across multiple areas that this project needs. In this direction, Google will promote Project Tango by providing kits for developers interested in exploration of 3D sensing applications. Although the first set of development kits were in a smartphone form factor with a 4MP camera, motion tracking camera and depth sensors, 200 of them were distributed to developers and are no more available. However, Google has announced that the upcoming 7" development kits in a tablet form factor will be powered by the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor packed with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, motion tracking camera, integrated depth sensing, WiFi, BTLE, and 4G LTE. It’s expected to go on sale this year

The applications of project tango while being endless and limited only by imagination would primarily be driven by the below areas in the medium term:

  • Industrial robotics
  • 3D scanners and 3D printers
  • Augmented reality
  • Gaming with 3D environmental overlays
  • Visual Disabilities Support
  • Mapping and Navigation – Indoor, Autonomous cars
  • Medical Imaging
  • Space Engineering

Apart from targeting the developer ecosystem, Google is collaborating with Universities, research labs and industrial partners in productizing this concept. Some of the key partners and their respective contributions to the project are listed below:

  • Movidius – Myriad 1 computer vision co-processor
  • Bosch – Pressure Sensors, BMX055 9-Axis MEMS Inertial Measurement Unit
  • Bsquare – Advanced depth processing, Advanced image co-processor integration, precise time syncing for real-time performance applications and sophisticated multiple camera processing
  • ETHZurich – Autonomous systems
  • hiDOF – Simultaneous localization and mapping

While commercial products roadmap is unclear at the moment, this project provides huge potential opportunities to embedded product companies and ERnD service providers. Being a leader in multimedia, camera, graphics and embedded operating systems, Sasken intends to explore product design and engineering opportunities in AR across real estate, retail, and fashion through enriching partnerships with the technology community.




Authored by: Ashok Vasudevan

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