Google's Project Tango VR Tablet Pictures Your 3D World

Google's Project Tango is basically a scanning tablet or smartphone. Essentially, it's a device that sees in three dimensions.

On the front, there's a wide field-of-view camera, while on the back there's a high-speed, 4-megapixel RGB-IR camera, a motion-tracking camera, and a depth-sensing camera.

Inside, meanwhile, two separate vision processors do the heavy lifting, allowing the phone to mimic how the human eye works. A detailed central section is surrounded by a broader - but less detailed - area of peripheral vision. Used in combination, they can build up a 3D model of a room or other area, with photographic detail layered on top.

Take a look at this explanatory video for a demonstration.


(Google Project Tango video demonstration)

This is a pretty clear visualization of an idea that Vernor Vinge described in great detail in his 2006 novel Rainbows End, which described wearable computers and smart contact lenses that could overlay a virtual reality scene onto a real one. Not only that, but competing virtual visions might collide in the same space:

Sheila's gang raced forward with the battle cries. But now dozens of Hacekeans joined the five Knights Guardian. Surely most were virtual, but the blending was perfection. No surprise; both sides knew this was coming. This was a collision of belief circles...

Smale shouted aloud and pointed them to views from above the library's entrance. Those cams showed spider like somethings guarding the final approach to the library doors. The [virtual] creatures were so thick they almost hid the stone mosaic...

Via SlashGear and Google Project Tango.

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