What can I say? I am a nerd and to me each year the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) is more like a Magic Kingdom than anything else. Considering that the conference takes place in January, there is no better way to welcome the new year than with a fresh breath of technological innovation! This year was no exception with its many great announcements and if I were to cover all the topics discussed I would have to speak for days. Therefore, narrowing it down to just a few topics that I found interesting, I would have to mention Lenovo’s announcement of its futuristic smartphone equipped with Project Tango by Google.
Since their introduction, smartphones have become one of the major competitive grounds and as such Lenovo’s announcement stirred in me a great deal of curiosity as to what difference the Project will make when comparing Lenovo’s device to others. Project Tango (https://www.google.com/atap/project-tango/) is one of Google’s babies and it is currently available for developers to test and include in their apps. This technology has the ability to create a perfect 3D perspective, gives you the precise dimension of your surroundings and tracks objects independently of your movements; as such, you could move forwards, backwards and also side to side and still obtain a reproduction of your surroundings. For these very reasons, the use of Project Tango is very popular in games, creating 3D landscapes that seem so real that you could touch them if only you could stretch your hand a little further.
One of the potentials of Tango is that, hypothetically, games developers could use the technology to employ a personal environment as a game background, similar to virtual reality games, allowing you to to feel even more inside the game. Aside from the fun use of the Project, Lenovo and Google are working closely together in order to release this summer the first smartphone using this technology. From the initial information we were given on the tool, its price is supposed to be around $500.00 and it aims to help orient you to your surroundings; for example you could use it at the mall when you are looking for a shop in a specific location or a friend. It will also replace the good old measuring tape, allowing you to understand immediately if the new sofa will fit inside your living room or not.
All in all, the great advancement in technology is undeniable; Project Tango could finally be the answer to our hopes for new and exciting virtual realities that will enhance our perception of the environment. Furthermore, I can easily see it being employed in more fields than just gaming, for example in life sciences as an aid to doctors during surgery or as a support for the visually impaired. What I am concerned about is how useful such a tool can be for ordinary people in their everyday life. As an integrated part of a smartphone you won’t just be buying Tango but a complete mobile phone with its many different features thereby somewhat justifying the cost; yet I still have some concerns about what sort of difference it will make in my life compared to other devices. Google has clearly stated that they are investing and improving it in order to provide a long-lasting tool that will revolutionise our lives – even those of “commoners” like myself. In all honesty, I learnt about technology some time ago and I know that great things can happen, moreover we have to admit that this industry is incredibly fast paced and even if the first attempt is not always the greatest there is always room for improvement; the conclusion is we will have to stay tuned and see what comes our way.
by Noemi Clark,
CEO – Athena Parthenos