The Project Tango DevKit tablet is now a reality. It is the product of a new and exciting collaborative research endeavor spearheaded by Google to explore the possibilities of computer vision. Imagine that living room ensemble you’ve had your eye on. What if it could appear, albeit virtually, in your home just long enough for you to see if it matches your decor? Or even if the dimensions fit your living space? Gamers: What if you could use your furniture as cover against oncoming laser fire from a virtual horde of invading extraterrestrials? Among other things, computer vision technology can place a virtual world on top of a real one, going beyond simple augmented reality.

Project Tango Recap?

Project Tango has been in the works for some time, but to recap: Google has invited developers from varying disciplines to collaborate and explore the immense possibilities of computer vision. The aim is to equip mobile devices with a “human-scale” understanding of space and motion, which goes beyond the edges of a device’s display window. Using very specific applications, sensor arrays, and hardware, Project Tango devices and gadgets can track the 3-D motion of a device and its user while maintaining spatial awareness of the surrounding environment and objects within that environment.

The NVIDIA and Google Development Tablet

In collaboration with NVIDIA, Google paired the powerful NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile super processor with the array of sensors and software that comprise Project Tango; the result is a working Project Tango DevKit in tablet form. The implications are game-changing — and not only for software development. It could allow us to interface with our software and devices in ways only seen in science fiction movies; it could be an incredible leap forward for everything from entertainment to safety and health care.

Real-World Possibilities

Possible applications for Project Tango include:

The well of possibilities is only limited by the depth of developers’ imaginations.

Tegra K1 by the Numbers

The power behind the DevKit tablet is NVIDIA’s sophisticated Tegra K1 processor for mobile devices. The Tegra K1 is powered by a 192-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU. Sound familiar? That’s because the K1 uses the same internal tech as the company’s acclaimed flagship PC video card, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti.

The chip was shown at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and was a massive attention-grabber; even then, NVIDIA spoke about the work being done in the computing sector. Now professionals and those who dabble in software development can finally get their hands on the tech. The company is touting the new die as a super chip. It’s an ambitious claim, yet apt when you consider the game-changing possibilities it brings to virtual and augmented reality.

Moreover, if you like to tinker with software development, you, too, can sign up for Project Tango. What cool use scenarios can you imagine with such a powerful piece of technology?

Image courtesy of Flickr


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