Google announces test of 3D sensor in phones

Today Google announced it is releasing a prototype smartphone that enables the creation of three dimensional maps of it’s surroundings. Many articles are already citing possible real world applications such as navigation indoors and immersive computer games. A company could map it’s office, upload it online and then ask it’s customers to produce fun designs as part of a competition.  The possibilities are really exciting for the apps that could be made. The use case that particularly strikes us though is for the aid of the visual impaired. Combining the 3D mapping technology with some advanced speech technologies to communicate the 3D sensor’s findings could really aid people in the real world.

Today’s announcement also begs the question ‘Will Google now make it’s own phones?’ Possibly, it depends how easy this technology will be to replicate. It is probably far more likely that Google will enter an agreement with Samsung or LG like it has for the Nexus range of tablets and phones. Either way, this is just the first version of the device, if they improve at any where near the same rate digital cameras did from 1999 onward then the level of detail would be set to be immense. In ten years time we could see people on safari producing detailed 3D maps of wildlife and surroundings.

The initial 200 test devices released by Google will be like gold dust, however, these things usually move pretty fast so we can’t wait to get a hold of one and get testing the SDK.