Google has built a prototype Android smartphone that can learn and map the world around it. The device comes from a new initiative called Project Tango, and it’s ready to get the phone into developers’ hands to see what the technology is capable of.
Google says that the phone will learn the dimension of rooms and spaces just by being moved around inside of them — walking around your bedroom, for example, would help the phone learn the shape of your home.
The hope is that by creating a robust map of the world, Google’s phone could eventually give precise directions to any given point that needs to be reached.
It’s an ambitious project, but that should be no surprise given who it’s coming from: Tango comes out of the Advanced Technology and Projects group — one of the few pieces of Motorola that Google has opted to hang on to rather than sell.
“The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion,” says Johnny Lee, leader of Project Tango.
Google has 200 devices that it’s preparing to give out to developers who want to build mapping tools, games, and new algorithms that take advantage of the phone’s sensors, and it expects to send them all out by March 14th.