Google recently announced their new Project Tango Development Kit, a 7" tablet with a unique twist. At present this is a device for developers, scientists, and other research-oriented groups more than something for end users, but as with most Google projects the end goal is obviously to help create something that will end up being a useful addition to a retail product. You can read more about Project Tango, but the main point of interest is that the devices contain hardware and software that allows them to track and map 3D environments. Google states that the sensors make over a quarter million 3D measurements every second, updating its position and orientation in real-time.

It seems like if Google gets enough of these things running around the world, they could combine all that data into an impressively detailed 3D map of the entire world (well, the populated parts at least). Google Earth could certainly benefit from that sort of data, but there are plenty other uses for such technology as well. NVIDIA's blog on the subject notes that games could map out your living room (or yard, office, neighborhood, etc.), or a real estate agent (or architect) could use it to create a 3D model of a house/building and provide a virtual walkthrough for clients. Uses in the robotics field are another option, and robotics research has already seen great benefits of integrating Microsoft's Kinect sensor into various designs.

Along with the new information on Project Tango comes the announcement of the latest development kit hardware. (Note that this is the second Project Tango device; the first was a smartphone.) Compared to many tablets currently out there, the specs are quite impressive: NVIDIA Tegra K1 SoC, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, and of course all the sensors needed to track motion and map environments. Basically, imagine a tablet/smartphone with Kinect-style sensors integrated into the product. (Update: Mantis Vision just announced that they will be providing the core 3D engine for Project Tango.) The device itself is a 7-inch tablet, though the screen resolution wasn't divulged, and it will be running the latest version of Android (KitKat 4.4).

If that sounds enticing, there are two more items you'll need to know: first is that the development kits will be made available "later this year", so this is not yet shipping hardware. Second, the cost of the development kit is $1024 (a nod to computer geeks and our infatuation with powers of two, I suppose). NVIDIA sent along two rendered images of the Project Tango tablet, showing black and white casings.

Source: NVIDIA Blog

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  • TheJian - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    K1 just won the coveted GOLDEN award at computex, and Grid also won an award for it's category. I wouldn't say K1 sucks, or they snowed an entire show. Also the benchmarks are all over and it looks pretty unbeatable for S805 since some of those numbers are in also and it loses. Google isn't stupid, they chose this chip for a reason right?

    AMD needs ARM to survive and they are extremely late to this party. We have no idea if they will even have a good chip when it comes. Meanwhile NV has Denver coming from a very talented group if people in portland. Just google Nvidia Portland Patrick Moorhead and you'll get a good article describing the experience of that team (from Intel, Sun, Transmeta, AMD, HP etc etc). They put together a team with decades of cpu/bus etc experience and they won't put out a piece of junk as shown by the dual core denver benchmarks already out. It matches a quad K1 at 2.3ghz already and is only a dual 2.5! They were both in tablets and it would seem the exact same one so makers should have no problems replacing K1 old with K1 denver for xmas. We should see battery life like Apple's Swift or Qcom's Krait as all are custom and we see the results. The problem for Qcom is they won't be custom with 810. The roles are now reversed for NV/Qcom.
    For the lazy...NV's CPU team in detail from a guy who knows his stuff (#1 analyst). EX AMD guy no less (11yrs).
  • fteoath64 - Friday, June 6, 2014 - link

    You made a great point about AMD needing ARM to survive in the long term. Most would readily agree. However, if you look at AMD's team that addresses their "mobile strategy and products", you see really desktop and HPC type people there. Not in NV's case as they have dedicated mobile team that could really cut the giant Kepler core into the K1 without sacrificing compatibility and features, just dropping in performance due to the power constraints imposed on mobile.
    It will AMD years to match that (if ever). Of course, we wish AMD would as the competition would bring great products and tech to the mobile space.
  • Dribble - Friday, June 6, 2014 - link

    AMD currently enjoy living in x86's walled garden - just them, and Intel who demand huge margins giving AMD plenty of chance to undercut them. ARM is cut-throat with lots of very aggressive players and tiny margins. AMD is very late to that market and have no money. I can't see them having much chance selling ARM tablet of phone soc's. Something specialist maybe but not in the general scrum that NV is in with the K1.
  • extide - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    Wow this could be really awesome. Imagine mapping out your house, work, etc, that could be kinda fun/interesting.
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    You see?!?!?! This is how you sell big brother to people. Wow look at what you can do!! I'm gonna map my house and upload to Google maps! Awesome!

    They know too much about you as is. Thank god it is too expensive for most people.
  • mwildtech - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    Did God come up with the price?

    Also, nobody cares about most peoples mundane life. Why would someone or an organization spy on you, just to see you are watching Game of thrones or wanking off.....
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    I'm not saying they would, i'm saying they should not have the option.

    Plus once your house is on google maps every terrorist can look at it and study your schedule. Also not a big deal until they kidnap your kids (probably home before you are) and make you blow yourself up on a subway train. Until that happens it just sounds like i'm watching too many movies. But sooner or later they will realize they don't have to kill themselves and our more and more public lifestyle will make that possible.
  • uhuznaa - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    So what do you suggest? Hide in the basement?
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    No. Just don't do anything revealing online. If you don't want your sex tape to end up online, DON'T MAKE A SEX TAPE (rule #1). First thing that guy thought of was to show of his house.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, June 5, 2014 - link

    What are you smoking dude?

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