Google project Tango is the latest example of increasingly-sophisticated sensors making their way to portable computing platforms such as phones, tablets and virtual reality goggles.
This mobile device includes several sensors:
- An orientation sensor, likely providing yaw/pitch/roll, angular velocity and linear rotation. These have been fairly standard in modern mobile devices.
- Cameras for both visible and IR spectrum. These are color cameras that aside from the usual RGB image also have pixels that sense near-IR wavelengths.
- A depth sensor, providing real-time mapping of the distance (e.g. depth) of various points in space – such as walls, people, hands – from the sensor. As an aside, there are several ways to sense depth: structured light such as the Kinect which projects a seemingly random pattern of dots into space and analyzes their reflections, time of flight such as SoftKinetic which measures the round-trip time it takes for light to return to the sensor and single- or multi-camera solutions that use image processing to estimate depth.