Project Tango may not be new any more, but it’s still got plenty of development ahead of it considering the type of technology it is. It’s been shown off numerous times in the past since it was officially announced by Google and their ATAP team, and after years of development and work the very first Project Tango consumer device is prepared to launch later this year under Lenovo. This device is expected to be shown off at Lenovo’s upcoming Tech World conference giving the public a much better look at what the device will offer in terms of specifications and hardware as well as its potential functionality. While Project Tango was initially set up as a device for developers, coming in the form of a tablet that was equipped with some pretty powerful specifications which commanded a high-price tag, the technology behind it is what’s important to focus on especially now that the first consumer-ready Project Tango product will be available soon.
Being that Project Tango has mainly been a developer tool so far, it might seem like Project Tango is unimportant to the general consumer, and while there may be some truth to that for now, there are numerous reasons why Project Tango matters, and why it matters to more than just developers. For starters, Google is likely going to be using the Project Tango technology to map 3D interiors, which could be good for Google as they could use it to serve up relevant physical advertising. For consumers, interior 3D mapping could be used to help them navigate their way around a new building, allowing them to essentially get walking navigation directions inside of wherever they are similar to the way navigation would be viewed for driving directions on your current mobile device. This indoor 3D navigation could be one of the single most important reasons for something like Project Tango, as consumers often enter into a new space and have no idea about their surroundings. Entering a mall and finding the stores you’re trying to visit, for example, would be a simple process with Project Tango’s indoor 3D mapping prowess, and consumers would have no need to hunt down one of those giant map signs that are placed throughout the building. They could simply open up their Project Tango smartphone, and navigate to where they’re trying to go. We got to experience a little bit of this back during Mobile World Congress at Lenovo’s event, where they used Tango tablets to navigate around a museum and feed data and information about various paintings at specific points to the users. During this demonstration, the Project Tango tablets were telling people where to go with an augmented reality view of arrows on screen that were overlayed on top of the real world or essentially what was being seen by the tablet’s rear camera.
These are just a few different uses of course, as Project Tango could be utilized in lots of other ways. The technology behind Project Tango is also going to be important for the world of gaming, just like with the HTC Vive and virtual reality. Project Tango relies a lot on AR technology, and instead of being fully immersed into the world of the game that you’re playing, a Project Tango device would overlay the game’s visuals and user interface on top of whatever the rear camera sees, immersing you into the gameplay but still allowing you to be and feel present in the real world too. Although not technically a Project Tango product, games like target="_blank">Father.IO are a good example of what AR gaming is like, and with Project Tango’s technology the possibilities of what could be done with gaming are taken to a new level.
Because of Project Tango’s multiple cameras and sensors, games like Minecraft, for instance, could be played in an almost virtual space, where you can view everything you’re building on the screen of your device, but also completely move around the world of the game as you walk around in the real world. Lenovo has also showcased another example of gaming on the device with a project tango tablet strapped to a toy gun, with the tablet screen acting as the reticle of sorts and allowing you to see the world of the game while aiming is completed by moving around the gun.
Project Tango could also be extremely useful for interior design, as the cameras and sensors could measure how much space you have in certain areas of the home. So if you were trying to figure out if you have enough room to fit that new desk in your office or a couch in the corner of the living room, you could use a Project Tango device to measure out the amount of space after measuring out how long and wide a piece of furniture might be that you want to put there. While gaming and indoor navigation are going to be exciting uses for Project Tango, especially as development continues to heat up and after the first consumer phone is launched, those wanting its technology for utility are likely going to have a lot more they can do with it, and this is going to be a much more practical reason for why it’s important to consumers. Apps like Car Visualizer, which is already available on the Play Store, would allow you to take a virtual tour around a car like you were walking around it in real life. You can move around the outside of the vehicle as well as open up the doors and see inside, zoom in on various parts, letting you get a glimpse and an understanding of what a car might look like in real life if it was physically in front of you. With apps like this and the technology of Project Tango in place, it wouldn't be too far off to suggest that it could be possible for people to experience a new way of virtual car buying, utilizing the power their smartphone to take a virtual tour as if they were on a showroom floor, allowing them to see the car without having to leave the home, and before they sign on the dotted line following a purchase.
As Project Tango's technology also allows it to map out the area or location that you're currently at, it can see the things around and you know where it is in relation to those things, say a stop sign at a street corner, or a set of tables inside of a mall, and users could take this technology and mark their place on a map, making it possible for others to find their location based on that particular marker. Project Tango's technology is also a blend of augmented reality and virtual reality, and with being able to sense objects around it in relation to its own location, it would be possible for the user to walk around real world objects that view as totally different objects on screen. For example, imagine that you were visiting a famous monument or you were playing a game where those virtual objects are displaying on screen in relation to objects that are being seen by the camera and sensors of the Project Tango device. This sort of immersive experience allows for the feeling of being more immersive simply because you're able to walk around physical objects and have that action directly affect what you see on the screen of the device. There are tons of possibilities for this technology, and it really just depends on the development from people that get to work with it. Since it uses AR, you could use a Project Tango device to see how things look inside the home before you make a purchase. The technology would also allow the device to simulate depth of field for photos, giving your pictures a little bit more style, something which we've already seen from HTC on their One M8 flagship and the Duo Camera. Since there are currently no Project Tango devices available to the public, there are less applications available to utilize its technology, but once the consumer phone launches, it wouldn't and shouldn't be too shocking to start seeing more applications designed for it, and once there are more applications to make use of its hardware, there will be a lot more practical uses as well as uses based around entertainment.