Google has announced it will be discontinuing its support for Tango, a computer vision and augmented reality platform. The company has notified Tango developers to migrate to the more common ARCore framework. The ARCore framework does not need any special hardware and can be used with mainstream smartphones.
Google started Project Tango back in 2014. The objective of this project was to provide mobile devices a more human-like computer vision, mostly for augmented reality. Tango works with a custom hardware that consists of an RGB camera, a motion tracking camera, IR depth sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes. The custom hardware is used to capture surroundings, with power computing devices processing the data captured to understand the position of a device in a room.
The initiative did not take momentum because of heavy cost, which was primarily due to the hardware requirements. Last year, Intel had come up with a prototype of a smartphone that was supporting the Tango framework. The prototype was built using RealSense camera and an Atom SoC. The farthest that Tango framework went was when Lenovo and ASUS developed smartphones for consumers that had Tango.
Unlike Tango, ARCore framework does not require any specialized hardware to support a major portion of Tango functionality. ARCore framework works on normal Android-based smartphones.
According to Google, the Tango initiative has not been totally useless. It has learned a lot from this initiative. The human-scale understanding of space and motion that Tango claimed can possibly be used in Google’s concept of self-driven cars.