project tango

Some camera specifications for Google’s Project Tango have been revealed. It turns out that the Phone comes equipped with four, yes 4, built-in camera sensors, including two extended Field of View sensors, an IR depth sensor and a normal camera sensor to round it all out.

Chromium web browser Issue # 352542 has an exciting title all in its own, “Add Project Tango device support to Chrome.” After a brief description of the project, the report describes Tango’s special cameras/ranging sensors. First up, a modest 4MP rear camera, but that is where ‘normal’ stops. According to this report, Project Tango will come with two fish eye cameras, 180° Field of View (FOV) on the rear and 120° FOV on the front, the latter being roughly the FOV of the human eye. Camera sensor number four is a 320×180 pixel infrared depth sensing camera.

If you are unfamiliar with Project Tango, it is the brainchild of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. It is a phone that is capable of creating a full 3D map of an environment. Current uses for the technology have included games that turn your physical living space into a virtual game, 3D mapped building interiors that could go up to Google Maps, improved robotics sensory and navigation aids for the visually impaired. We described Project Tango in detail a while back, but do check out their cool video below.

The infrared camera on Project Tango is a part of the OV4682 3D depth sensor, built by Omnivision. Combining input between the 4MP shooter and the IR sensor allows the image to be processed into 3D mappings of an environment. The equipped sensors could lead to Project Tango providing future image processing and post-capture capabilities, such as adjustable image focus like is found on the Lytro Camera and Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 ISOCELL camera.

The ATAP team says that they’ve handed out all of their currently available developer units to third party software developers. The list of partners includes Bosch, the Open Source Robotics Foundation and a few universities, amongst others. We are excited to see what uses they come up with using Project Tango.

Do you think Google is doing the right thing by focusing on innovative new camera uses, as opposed to competing in the megapixel space race?