Duel news from Lenovo in a single day, and this one is better. The first device for Project Tango, an ambitious Google project which focusses on enabling developers to bring advanced computer vision capabilities (for example- depth sensing, motiond detection and tracking and or intrepreting complex vision data from sensors) on a device, will come out from Lenovo
Today at the CES 2016, Lenovo announced that it will be making the first such mobile phone device. Without revealing any details, Lenovo said that the phone can be expected to launch as early as this summer and will be priced less than $500.
The device with Project Tango technology is expected to have three cameras- one for color detection, second for depth sensing and a fish eye lens. These cameras will help in detecting the inside space, for example of a big mall or in 3D sensing of space.
In addition to this, Google also announced an app incubator program for developers today at CES. The apps which will be selected as a part of the program are going to be preloaded in the Lenovo phone.
However, it is not clear at present whether Lenovo will be an exclusive partner for Project Tango or more OEMs may get to use the technology in the future. Given the fact that Project Tango is still in its nascent stage, it may be too soon to expect it in majority android devices in the near future.
Project Tango is one of the many initiatives being carried out by major companies in the field of perpetual computing and computer vision. Perpetual computing involves analysis of visual data captured by the sensors and camera of a device. Computer vision which is a part of perpetual computing allows the device sensors and cameras to see and sense the surroundings in great depth and details like humans do.
Till few years back, the idea of such level of vision processing and 3D sensing in a mobile device was not possible due to the high amount of power required by it. Such power is simply out of scope for the battery of a normal smartphone.
However, Project Tango and many other similar initiatives are relying on a new chip- low power vision processor called the Myriad 1, which is manufactured by chip startup Movidius and its CEO Remi El-Ouazzane. It is based on a custom architecture and is extremely power efficient, producing over 1 teraflop of processing power on only a few hundred milliwatts of power.
Myriad 1 is supposed to work as a co-processor in addition to the main chip. It captures and processes vision data and performs complex calculations which the main CPU would otherwise require too much power to perform.
Apple is already using a similar co-chip processor- M7- in iPhone which tracks and reports motion data to the main A7 chip and helps in recording health-related activity data even while the system is idle.
Project Tango aims to give access to such power to developers via APIs to let them integrate features like motion detection and tracking, depth mapping, etc into image-capture apps, games, navigation systems, mapping applications and a lot more.