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Thursday, June 26, 2014
Google And LG To Bring 3-D Scanning, Modular Phones

Coming soon from the Google and its partners is a 3-D scanning tablet, a modular phone platform, and digitally rendered interactive story created from hand-drawn animations.

All these are the result of the work of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), which is behind the "Project Tango," which is building camera and depth sensor systems to create detailed and accurate 3-D indoor navigation representations without GPS, to be used for games and augmented reality.

On Thursday, the company said that ATAP had eleven projects, from acoustics to wearables.

During a demo of the technology at Google I/O today, ATAP's Technical Program Lead, Johnny Lee, demonstrated a real time 3D mapping of the Google I/O stage, as well as a video game that showcased Tango?s ability to understand where you are in the room. Lee announced ATAP would be working with LG to make a consumer-scaled device next year. The first consumer device will be a tablet, but a smartphone will eventually be available as well.

Google also talked about ATAP?s Project Ara, which will allow people to make smartphones out of their own chosen components, and to replace them at will when newer ones become available or older ones fail.

Paul Eremenko, head of the project, said Ara is currently working to develop "contactless" data transfer and an electro-permanent-magnetic approach to putting the phone components together, so they can be durable and small. That involves miniaturizing current EPM systems by a factor of a thousand, since they are traditionally made to pick up large, heavy objects like cars.

A prototype run would be fabricated for participating developers in the next two weeks, and a developer version of Android with modularity support would be available this fall.

Google also demoed ATAP's foray into storytelling, which she described as an attempt to bring humanity and emotion into technology. ATAP has created two interactive stories for Motorola phones, and its big new project is bringing in the storied Disney animator Glen Keane as a member of the ATAP team. The interactive story will be released on all Android phones later this year.

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