Google unveiled its slick Project Tango 3D mapping system inside a prototype smartphone not long ago. We got to see what all the camera lenses inside the Project Tango smartphone looked like when iFixit performed a teardown of one of the smartphones recently. As cool as the hardware for Project Tango is, it’s what Google’s ATAP division is able to do with the data those cameras collect that is really interesting.
The data gathered allows for real time mapping of the environment for things like games and other uses. Project Tango is set to go somewhere very interesting once it is combined with another cool bit of tech. Google is working with a team at the NASA Ames Research Center to integrate Project Tango with a prototype robotic platform called SPHERES.
The SPHERES robotic platform is designed to fly inside the ISS. The goal of the SPHERES program is to create an autonomous robotic assistant for astronauts on the space station to help them perform maintenance around the station. Project Tango’s 3D mapping systems would be a huge benefit for the SPHERES program.
If the project is successful, this would be the first time that autonomous navigation has been possible for a robotic platform in orbit. Project Tango and SPHERES will launch this summer. There is no exact launch date noted for the project at this time.