Google is working on a tablet with advanced vision capability that can capture 3D maps of a user’s surrounding environment, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Sources said the company plans to produce around 4,000 prototype tablets from next month, just ahead of Google’s annual developer conference.
Google often lets developers work on its futuristic devices, which also includes Google Glass, to encourage the development of applications that consumers will be attracted to.
The 7-inch tablet features two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and advance software to map 3D images of objects.
The device is part of Google’s Project Tango, a research effort aimed at creating mobile devices that have a human sense of space and movement and similar understanding and perception of the world.
Project Tango is being run from the Advanced Technology and Projects group, and the initiative released a prototype smartphone with similar functionality in February.
Google has said the technology could be used to improve navigation of indoor environments for visually-impaired people, provide step-by-step directions within shops and create more immersive gaming experiences.
Facebook is also looking at advanced vision technology and, as part of this, is in the process of acquiring virtual reality hardware maker Oculus VR.
Speaking about the acquisition in March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it was “a long term bet on the future of computing” with a belief that Oculus “can be one of the platforms of the future”.
Oculus and Facebook plan to initially focus on immersive gaming before using the platform for other experiences.