This week, Lenovo gave consumers their first look and a chance to buy a phone featuring Google’s three year old Project Tango- an effort to imbue machines with a clearer and cleverer understanding of grasping what’s around them- the size of a room, the placement of doors and windows and the presence of other people.
Location tracking through GPS as well as cell towers informs apps where you are, but that’s about it. On the other hand, Google Tango uses software together with sensors to track motions and size up the outlines and dimensions of a room, giving Lenovo’s new phone the ability to map building interiors. This will be a central building block of a promising new frontier in augmented reality which is the digital projection of life-like images and data into a real-life setting.
If Google Tango lives up to its promise, then it could open up exciting new avenues where furniture shoppers can download digital models of furniture to see how they would actually look like in the houses and kids studying a particular era in history will be able to place a virtual historical figure right in their classroom. The groundbreaking technology would even be able to display information about an artist or an exhibit on a museum. The possibilities will be limitless.
Tango will be able to generate internal maps of offices and homes on the fly too. Google wouldn’t have the need to build a mapping database in advance, as it does with Google Maps and Street View. Nevertheless, Tango could raise new concerns about privacy if controls are not rigorous enough to stop the on-the-fly maps from being shared with unauthorized apps of even heisted by hackers.
At the Lenovo Tech World conference in San Francisco, the Chinese company was expected to publicize the phone’s release date and price. Google has already released experimental Tango devices for computer programmers, encouraging them to create apps that will work with Lenovo’s new phone. At a conference for developers recently, Google demonstrated an app for visualizing furniture in actual living rooms.
Google already has plans to introduce Tango to other phones but currently, they are focusing on Lenovo’s partnership this year, according to Johnny Lee, a Google executive who supervised the team that developed the innovative technology. He believes that 3D imagery and data, whether it is through the new Tango phone or through another technology, will definitely reform the way people interact with e-commerce, gaming and education.