Thursday, July 3, 2014

Project Tango

Project Tango

Official Page:

What is it?
According to Johhny Lee (the guy that did cool stuff with the wii): "The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion"

For the Layman:
It is a camera that captures your surroundings. Think of it as a mobile kinect. You can use this data to construct 3D Textures & Shapes but it does NOT do this out of the box. Any demo you've seen (below) are software written by developers using this device.

When will it be released?
Sometime this summer

How many will be released?
200 of the original "peanut" phones were released. 4000 Tangos are planned to be released.
more info here

What does the new dev-kit look like?

Here are 2 images. (The device is 7 inches wide)



Here is a video of it:

What can I do with this thing?

Latest video of it in action:

What did the old dev-kit look like?

How does it work?
"It does this with the motion sensing and multiple cameras without the aid of GPS, Bluetooth or Wi-FI. Two cameras (one traditional and the other fish-eyed) recreate a human’s peripheral vision while a Depth Sensor sees shapes instead of colors. The entire package currently has an error and drift rate while mapping of one percent."

What does the software look like?
I get the impression this thing is making data available for software to process. I don't think it does the visual mapping you see in the above videos. You have to write that. This fellow is referenced in the above video: Matt Klingensmith. He uses a technique called Voxel Depth Carving.
So... this device may not be as awesome to the average game developer without that software.

The software used in the video is from Matterport.

Is there an API reference guide somewhere?
It is here but you need to own a Tango to have access to it.

How do I get a dev kit?
Go to their page above and sign up to be notified when it become available.
You need to be a "professional developer". The last time I tried to sign up for this they required a company identifier. So... you may need an s-corp to get one. I do part-time game development but I haven't made an llc/s-corp because of the trouble. There are websites that simplify this process for you. Expect a tax headache and to spend $100 or more a year to keep it up-to-date.

If you get one of these, expect to do some hardcore c++/Java development to get something useful out of it.

How much will the developer kit cost?
$1024 (2^10)

What are the specs?
size: 7"
processor: NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor 
memory: 4GB
storage: 128GB
motion tracking camera (120 degree)
integrated depth sensing
operating system: KitKat Android OS
KitKat Android operating system
KitKat Android operating system
KitKat Android operating system

What is ATAP?
Advanced Technology And Projects group
"All ATAP projects last for two years. It’s a quick-moving system designed to accomplish in months what usually takes years"

More stuff from the ATAP team here:

History of the prototype design:

Want to read more? Here you go:
anandtech article
nvidia blog
article on Matterport's room
ATAP team presentation summary

Disney has been working on similar tech. Here is a video of it:

Autodesk's 123D catch 

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