Google developing Project Tango tablet with advanced imaging capabilities

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group is apparently hard at work on developing a new kind of tablet with advanced imaging capabilities.

Linked to its ambitious Project Tango initiative, the Mountain View company is reportedly building a 7-inch slate with highly customized hardware and software that enables it to track its movements in full 3D, in real-time.

The high-tech tablet incorporates, for example, two rear cameras, a bunch of infrared sensors, and “advanced software that can capture precise three-dimensional images of objects,” the Wall Street Journal said Thursday.

Individuals familiar with the plans told the Journal that Google is gearing up to produce around 4,000 prototypes of the device, which could be unveiled prior to the company’s annual I/O developer bash, this year taking place in San Francisco on June 25 and 26.

It’s believed the prototype will be handed out to carefully selected developers who’ll then set about designing apps and software for the machine.

Like the 5-inch handset ATAP announced in February, the tablet is said to be capable of making more than a quarter of a million 3D measurements every second, constantly updating the location and position of the device as it maps a 3D model of the surrounding environment.

ATAP team member Johnny Lee said recently that the goal of Project Tango is to “give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”

Besides ATAP, Project Tango also receives input from a number of research labs, universities and industrial partners from nine countries.

It’s thought the revolutionary design of the devices will one day go toward serving a range of purposes. For example, they could help map out a 3D world for the visually impaired, offering auditory cues to help them navigate their immediate surroundings; give detailed directions for locating items in small spaces; and even function as an augmented reality device for games, with Project Tango engineers offering up the idea of “playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path.”

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