Google wants your phone to see in 3D, using Kinect-style technology.
That's the goal of Project Tango, brainchild of the Advanced Technology and Products group – one of the bits of Motorola that Google has hung onto following its sale.
Google's ATAP group has kitted out the Project Tango prototype smartphone with a motion-tracking camera and depth sensor in addition to its standard 4MP camera; it also contains a new Movidius Myriad 1 co-processor, designed to bring Kinect-style machine vision to smartphones.
Unlike the Xbox Kinect, Project Tango's sensor setup isn't used to track motion; instead, it's designed to map your environment in 3D, giving your phone a "human-like understanding of space and motion."
Inevitably, some developers are using the technology to create AR games – albeit vastly more accurate than the ones on current-gen devices. Other potential uses for the technology include helping the visually-impared to navigate unfamiliar spaces, and providing directions within buildings.
Google's taking applications for developers now – but if you're looking to build your own app for Project Tango, you'll have to be quick; there are only 200 devices available.