Google to put 3D vision technology in experimental tablet

The tablets could be ready before Google's developer conference in late June, the WSJ reported

Google is developing a new tablet with advanced vision capabilities that can be used to capture 3D images.

About 4,000 of the prototypes will be produced at the beginning of next month for use by developers, reported the Wall Street Journal, citing people briefed on the company's plans. The new tablet could be ready before Google's developer conference Google I/O kicks off on June 25, the Journal said.

The tablet will have a 7-inch screen, infrared depth censors, two back cameras and software for processing 3D images, and will be part of Google's Project Tango, according to the newspaper.

Project Tango is Google's attempt to create a mobile device that shares a human's sense of space and movement and understands and perceives the world the same way we do.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the tablet plans on Friday.

In February, Google launched a 5-inch Project Tango prototype Android smartphone combining technology from the worlds of computer vision and robotics to create a 3D model of the phone's surroundings.

This technology could for instance be used to quickly find the exact shelf where a product is located in a store or to make a 3D floor plan of a house before going out to shop for furniture. Project Tango could also guide the visually impaired around unfamiliar indoor places and provide step-by-step directions in stores.

These are all possibilities for the tablet too, reported the Wall Street Journal, adding that the technology could also be used for immersive videogames.

Two Project Tango phones are heading to the International Space Station during the upcoming Orbital 2 commercial resupply mission scheduled to launch on June 10. The phones will be attached to self-powered soccer-ball-sized robots called "Spheres" that will fly around inside the space station.

NASA will test how well the 3D modeling and visual odometry can be used to let the Spheres learn their environment based on what it sees, rather than relying on fixed sensors in the environment. One day, the 3D phones could also be used to fly around the outside of the space station or even for NASA's plans to land on an asteroid.

(See video of the Tango phone and Spheres at NASA in a YouTube video.)

Google is not the only company investing in advanced 3D tech. Facebook is also interested and is in the process of buying Oculus VR, the developer of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset for about US$2 billion. That acquisition is about much more than gaming though. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees it as the next major computing platform, one that will be used for shopping, communication, education and more.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How to become the customer experience custodian

The number one objective enterprises give for embarking on a digital transformation is to improve customer experiences with new engagement models, according to IDC’s 2017 global study.

Fear not: It's only a robot

Every time I pass through the automated border controls at the Sydney airport I walk away with a feeling of exasperation on the one hand and relief on the other. Exasperation, because the face recognition technology inevitably always fails to recognise me. Relief, because we seem to be safely years away from the Orwellian reality of states controlling every aspect of our lives; something the media is keenly warning us against each day.

Dan Kalinski

CEO, iProspect Australia and New Zealand

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

I worked at Momentum when the transformation started way back in 2013 (not 2015 as stated in the article). It was a painfully slow and co...

Jay

How Momentum Energy has transformed its entire business to be customer-led

Read more

Another buzzword thoughtlessly latched onto, without any thought for the implications on the organisations that have to lumber through th...

Tired

Rolling out agile marketing at Deakin

Read more

Useful., also don’t miss out on these 5 features of Adobe Experience Cloud - Visit here > http://www.softcrylic.com/b...

Sunil Joseph

Adobe debuts Advertising Cloud, Experience Cloud

Read more

the systems that run these things are teachable just like a car, theres stuff still yet to come out to bring up the automation grade, b...

Magnus Robert Carl Wootton

Fear not: It's only a robot - Big data delivery - CMO Australia

Read more

Marin Software’s digital marketing solution as a short way of streamlining and finding a scalable solution...

Al Drazhev

How BizCover is boosting search advertising success

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in