Feb.4, 2015 | By Simon

Although Google’s Glass didn’t quite turn out as it was intended, the internet and tech giant have been busy creating other types of augmented and virtual reality devices that are slated to change how we see the world around us...including data mapping that could lead to entirely new methods of gathering data for 3D printing applications.

Today, it was announced that Google wants their Project Tango 3D mapping technology to trickle out of developers’ hands and into those of consumers later this year... starting with integrating the Tango platform into some yet-to-be-announced smartphone models.  

The technology, which employs the use of advanced cameras and depth sensors to quickly create 3D models of the environment around them similar to a Microsoft Kinect, was first announced in February of 2014.  Over the past year, Google has opened up the platform for a select group of developers to test the beta prototype and figure out how they can build mapping tools, games and other applications including those that may one day help the blind better navigate their surroundings.  

When considering that the technology takes over 250,000 measurements every second to build a map of a 3D environment, it becomes clear that Google doesn’t just want this to be another smartphone; Project Tango can be used as a tool by thousands of those who spend their days creating 3D content...including those with a 3D printer nearby.  

"We are physical beings that live in a 3D world,” said Google when they announced Project Tango last year.  "The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion."

An example of how Project Tango could be used for 3D printing is by scanning an environment such as a kitchen and then using that mapped data to  determine what it would look like to place various 3D printed products in the room before actually printing them.  Alternatively, the data itself could be used by architects and others to scan an environment such as a bathroom and 3D print the environment to have as a physical explanation when discussing design plans with a client.  Of course, it would also work as a standalone 3D scanner for creating replicas of existing real world objects such as a mug or a key basket.  

Previously, Project Tango was being held in Google’s top secret product laboratory but has since moved into its own product category - a good sign that they want to make this happen and soon.    

"We're excited about the continued commitment to developing the technology for our users - we wish our fellow pirates fair winds and following seas,” added Google.  

While the company hasn't yet announced exactly what they see people using Tango for, it's safe to say that the thousands of 3D printing enthusiasts and makers out there will almost certainly come up with their own ingenious applications and solutions.  



Posted in 3D Scanning


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Bozgrul wrote at 2/5/2015 2:46:00 PM:

Nice to see Johnny Chung Lee on this project. I've played a lot with his 3d head tracking concept using a reversed wimote and IR LEDs. It was a lot of fun to implement and toy with, well before the Oculus (http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/)

All Things 3D wrote at 2/5/2015 7:25:06 AM:

Why wait for Tango, when you can do this with Occipital Structure sensor and an iPhone 6 or 6+ very, very, very soon (this month). http://structure.io/

Rob C. wrote at 2/5/2015 2:18:49 AM:

The title of this article is slightly misleading... It makes it sound as if this tech will be deployed on existing phones. It's clear that this phone has a special array of sensors and processing tech, so it will not be "coming to smartphones" it will be a new smartphone.

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