Yesterday, just before the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Google has announced with wide media coverage (Gigaom, ArsTechnica, VentureBeat), its latest mobile device innovation, Google Tango, a new smartphone with 3D sensors in the backface that provide kinect-like functionalities on the move and in the living room, for fun, games and beyond.
All of Tango’s capabilities, features and user experience have, for 3 years already, been fully part of the CivicPod, the core end-user device of our User Verified Social Telematics (UVST) R&D project, except the CivicPod provides substantial additional features and advantages, at a lower cost and while being to a wide extent Tango-compatible, albeit with lower performance. As UVST, Tango is also an open innovation project, developed with over 16 world private and public research centers.
In UVST, 3D sensors, such as those of Tango, are embedded in the CivicPod, a 3mm-thin Bluetooth-connected touch-screen device with 2 dual front-facing cameras with refractive lenses, that can be attached to the user’s smartphone through a custom rigid case, or to the TV frame though a dedicated docking station.
So therefore in addition to Tango capabilities, the CivicPod user can:
- Just buy a ultra-thin user-friendly multi-function peripheral embedding such Tango- compatible Kinect-like sensors, instead of buying a new dedicated smartphone, which brings to the user: huge cost savings, the ability to easily such port the sensors to its your next smartphone, the ability to use its smartphone while the sensors are active for on-TV living-room applications, and just 1.5mm of additional thickness.
- Access most of Tango applications, since for Tango SDK developers, wanting to port their apps to CivicPod, it is just a matter of adding Bluetooth APIs to the application, and account for very minimal delay added by Bluetooth connection.
- Access by default a Tango-compatible CivicPod application that enable its use as an highly-innovative, ergonomic and immersive «magic» touch-based control of on-TV content, available through a dedicated cheap CivicDongle, ChromeCast and other compatible TV-connected devices. – Through 2d front-facing cameras with refractive lenses, the position of the user’s finger tips above the CivicPod screen are tracked and relayed wirelessly to such TV-connected device and made visible on the TV screen as halos of varying size. Finger position information appears as a semi-transparent video-overlay stream on the TV screen that decrease in opacity and size as the fingers gets closer to the CivicPod screen. Touch events are also relayed to the CivicDongle to trigger touch events on the CivicDongle UI, and therefore on the TV screen. Therefore, overall the user gets the experience of «touch controlling» their TV from the comfort of his sofa (or bed), but while looking at all times to the TV screen instead of the CivicPod screen, including while typing on a virtual keyboard without having its finger hiding the key about to be pressed.
- Access to ultra-private mobile&desktop communications and social features, with other CivicPods, through UVST leading-edge end-to-end privacy-enhancing architecture, and unprecedented verification organizational processes, which even include “user-verifiable” hardware manufacturing oversight procedures that exceed those of US Dept.of Defense “Trusted Foundry Program”.
For more information see the UVST project web page.