Google’s Environment Sensing Project Tango Gets A Teardown

Google’s Project Tango prototype smartphone is armed with four cameras to allow it to take stock of its environment and record and use 3D depth-sensing info, and it’s basically just a bunch of cameras and sensor glommed onto a fairly impressive Android smartphone with a quad-core processor and 2GBs of RAM to crunch all that environment data. iFixit got to tear it down and have a look at what’s inside, and this pre-consumer hardware definitely has some interesting guts.

There are not one but three USB ports on the device, including mini USB, microUSB and USB 3.0, and the bulky little guy also has a 3,000mAh battery, and a 5-inch display. But the real hotness are the cameras, which include a 120-degree field of vision front-facing camera which is roughly equivalent to that of the hujman eye, and a 4 megapixels main camera that also has an infrared sensor for 3D depth sensing.

There’s also a fisheye lense that can see a full 180 degrees, and records black and white pics for tracking motion. iFixit also powered up the IR projector on the device, which shows that it works similarly to Kinect in terms of detecting and building the depth map of its surroundings.

Ironically, this non-consumer device would be among the easiest for consumers to repair according to iFixit’s standards; it scored 9 out of 10 for repairability, easily the highest of any smartphone. But that’s because it’s designed for developers and tinkerers. Until Ara comes along, average users will have to stick with their closed system devices as per usual.