WSJ: Google Developing Project Tango Tablets That Map Their Surroundings

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is developing new 7-inch tablets based around its Project Tango technology—and it plans to manufacture 4,000 prototype devices in the coming month.

The reports suggests that the tablets will have a 7-inch screen, infrared depth sensors, two back-mounted cameras, and "advanced software that can capture precise three-dimensional images of objects." The Journal claims that Google is rushing to manufacture them in time for its annual I/O developer conference, which is scheduled for the end of June.

Project Tango comes out of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group—the one part of Motorola that it didn't sell to Lenovo. Tango is headed up by Johnny Lee, the former Microsoft researcher who was one of the brains behind Kinect, and aims to create hardware that sees not just depth and space but also objects and context.

To that end, it's already created a prototype smartphone, which came packed with a 4 MP rear-facing RGB/IR camera, a 180 degree rear-facing fish-eye camera, a 120 degree front-facer, and two computer vision co-processors to make sense of the input. In other words, serious image-processing gear, that can capture 3D models of real-world space and objects as it's swept around a room.

The Journal explains that the new tablets would be released to developers ahead of the I/O conference, which, if true, aligns with the way the Project Tango phone—of which there were just 200—were released. When all this might turn in to some kind of commercial reality? We'll have to wait see. [Wall Street Journal]