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. 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.
Google has been working for the last one year on 3-D smartphones that aim to give the devices greater awareness of space and motion in natural environments. The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices “a human-scale understanding of space and motion,” wrote Johnny Lee, project lead at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, in a Google+ post. The awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way people interact with others and their environment, Lee and his team wrote. “Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen.”