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Major Takeaways:

  • Google is positioning itself to do for headsets “what Apple did for smart phones”
  • Google has begun development of a headset that will be able to map the world around you as you walk through the world
    • With this headset, you’ll enter a “second reality”
  • As Google’s documentation suggests, “these applications use the Project Tango device as a camera into a virtual world that you can move through in the physical world” – in other words, Project Tango devices enable a kind of augmented reality technology

From the Slash/Gear article:

Google Tango HMD: smartphones’ next step

What Apple did for smartphones, Google will soon be doing for headsets. What you’re about to see was born, in part, in the development of Google Glass. It’s wearable, but it exists in the virtual realm. Google has begun development of a headset that will be able to map the world around you as you walk through the world. With this headset, you’ll enter a second reality, cultivated in Google Cardboard, developed in Project Tango.

Project Tango’s developer documents have made no secret about being prepared for the inevitable onset of the VR market and environment. As Google’s documentation suggests, “these applications use the Project Tango device as a camera into a virtual world that you can move through in the physical world.”

Google’s description of its “Virtual Reality / Motion Tracking Apps” for Project Tango continues, saying, “We use Project Tango’s motion tracking technology to understand the device’s relative position and location from where the application starts.”

Below you’ll see one example of Project Tango working on a tablet in a way that’ll translate VERY easily to a VR headset.

It’s simple.

It’s an app that has you moving boxes through 3D space.

It’s using spacial tracking provided by Google’s Tango technology inside the tablet. This technology can be small enough to fit inside a phone, as you’ll see in the following articles:

Lenovo Project Tango Phone
Intel Project Tango Phone
Qualcomm Project Tango Phone

None of these phones are available as consumer-ready pieces of hardware yet. You can purchase one as a developer looking to expand on the software and make your own “Tango” apps.

That’s it. So far.

Back when Project Tango was first revealed back in 2014, hardware was being used with VR headsets right out the gate.

Project Tango at Google I/O 2014

Above you’ll see Google’s first Project Tango tablet working with a Tango VR app inside a Durovis Dive (Google Cardboard precursor) headset.

Below you’ll see a Project Tango demonstration from all the way back in 2014 – head to around 5:30 to see VR being shown as a very early piece of development.

One year later, (May of 2015), just before Google I/O (the company’s developer conference) we hypothesized that Google would be releasing their next-generation software for Cardboard.

As it turned out, they sort of did do that, but they kept the name the same. It’s still called Google Cardboard, but in the past year we’ve seen some relatively big leaps.