February 21, 2014

Project Tango – What you need to know

Written By Martin Sandhu

Google’s latest hair-brained idea is a phone that can map the room you’re in. The prototype smartphone’s hardware and software creates 3D maps of a user’s surroundings.

Thanks to the inbuilt sensors the 5″ Android mobile can make 250,000 3D measurements every second in order to create an accurate, real-time 3D model of the space you’re in.

In a blog, Google said: “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.

Although early algorithms are still in active development, Google believes it will be possible to capture the dimensions of your home, navigate inside unfamiliar buildings and find products unaided in large store with the technology in future.

Initially the project may sound like something more suited to a sci-fi film, but should the technology take off and become widely available there are some interesting ways in which it could be used.


Although high street shopping is in decline, it’s not dead yet particularly when it comes to food shopping and supermarkets. Using the 3D mapping technology, the smartphone would be able to find the products on your list and direct you to them…no more wandering aimlessly around for hours!

Retailers could tackle the trend of browsing rather than buying via smartphones and direct shoppers to the products they have previously looked at online when they enter the store.

Room mapping

The ability to take an in-depth map of a room with you when you go to a homeware or DIY store is great idea, it means shoppers could get a clear idea of how furniture could fit in their space and what it would look like.

Augmented reality gaming

Rather than playing friends online in a fantasy world, gamers could play friends online in their own living room. “Imagine competing against a friend for control over territories in your own home with your own miniature army,” Google said on its Project Tango Web site.