What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? It’s one of several big questions Google is asking as part of Project Tango, an effort by the company’s new Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group to expand the reach of space and motion for mobile devices to a “human scale.”
The technology is “still in the very early stages,” said Iska Hain, global communications and public affairs manager at Google, in an e-mail interview, but the implications for Real Estate and home improvement are huge.
The new prototype – a 5-inch Android smartphone armed with custom-built sensors and software designed to track the full motion of the device – can create a real-time 3D model of the space around you.
“These sensors make over a quarter-million 3D measurements every single second, updating the position and location of the phone, fusing this information into a single 3D model of the environment,” said Johnny Chung Lee, project lead at ATAP, in a YouTube video introducing Project Tango, where an example of its capabilities included the mapping and placement of furniture in a home. It is an effort that has spanned a year of work with universities, research labs and industrial partners around the world, aiming to concentrate the robotics and computer vision technologies of the last decade into a mobile phone, according to the Project Tango website and YouTube video.
Google is shipping a limited number of prototypes to professional developers by mid-March, and, according to Hain, is challenging them to think about questions that could change the way Real Estate agents do business:
- What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address?
- What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building?
- What if the visually impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places?
“There are so many possibilities,” she said. “As we get further along, there is potential for the technology to be used by many verticals (retail, art, Real Estate, etc.).”