Project Tango Smartphone Knows How to Connect the Real to the Virtual

Project Tango Smartphone Knows How to Connect the Real to the Virtual

Lenovo and Google have partnered up to produce the Project Tango smartphone, as announced at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It looks like the phone will be ready for market by this summer, starting at around $500.

The Project Tango platform uses computer vision to enable Android mobile devices to recognise their position without relying upon GPS or other external signals.

Motion tracking allows the device to understands its position and orientation in real-time. Depth sensors makes sense of the space around the device, allowing the virtual world to accurately interact with the real world. Devices also use visual clues and can self-correct errors.

Lenovo wants to make the device a leader for mappable, augmented reality (AR) content. At the Congress, they presented an app that guides users around the nearby Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It takes the user to selected paintings using the phone’s camera and pre-loaded maps, navigating without GPS around the complexities of the building. The AR elements include blue dots which appear on the display to guide you towards the next painting, and descriptions and snippets of history as the user walks around. 

Developers were recently invited to submit their best app ideas as part of the Project Tango App Incubator with the best receiving funding for further development. One incredibly practical app being developed for the device includes MeasureIt, a tool for getting the dimensions of objects just by pointing your device's camera at it. The results are then displayed as an AR overlay on the object.

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