New Google tablet said to have advanced 3D imaging

Expected to go into production next month, the slate will incorporate dual cameras and infrared depth sensors, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Google's Project Tango
Details of Project Tango released by Google in February Google/Screenshot

Google has a new tablet in the works that incorporates advanced vision capabilities that can capture more precise three-dimensional images of objects, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Sporting a 7-inch display, the tablet will come equipped with two rear-facing cameras, infrared depth sensors, and advanced imaging software, unidentified sources told the Journal. The company plans to begin manufacturing the tablet next month, producing 4,000 prototype slates, the sources said.

CNET has contacted Google for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

The tablet is reportedly part of Google's Project Tango, which is supervised by Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group, a skunkworks division that Google inherited with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

The ambitious goal of Project Tango, as Google demonstrated in February, is to give smartphones the ability to do realistic 3D mapping and create virtual experiences as the phone's owner moves through the real world. The phone's sensors make more than 250 million 3D measurements every second to build a 3D model of the device's surroundings.

The project's suggested applications range from the mundane, such as capturing the dimensions of a home before furniture shopping simply by waving the phone around a room, to the helpful, such as aiding the visually impaired inside unfamiliar buildings, to the frivolous, such as turning a hallway into a virtual-reality game space.

Rival Facebook is also exploring advanced computer vision technology with its planned $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, the maker of virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. The headset was originally intended for use with gaming devices, but Facebook has said it plans to extend its virtual reality capabilities beyond gaming into areas such as communications, media, entertainment, and education.