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We are working with Google’s new Project Tango Software Development Kit (SDK) to explore new applications for the utility sector.

The Project Tango SDK is an android tablet with a wide-angle camera, a depth sensing camera, accurate sensor time stamping, and a software stack that will enable MUS developers to use motion tracking, area learning and depth sensing.

By combining motion and depth sensors, Google has been able to create a device that can understand how it is moving within its environment, giving it a human-scale understanding of space and motion. The device can also assess areas based on visual cues to further improve location accuracy.

The MUS business process and systems team will look into using Project Tango for 3D scanning applications which will enable teams to calculate excavation dimensions and volumes more accurately, rather than using estimates based on length, width and depth measurements.  

MUS designers will be able to utilise 3D scanning to improve efficiency in the planning and design of above ground infrastructure, as well as to improve communication of design plans. There is also a health and safety benefit as scanning can remove the need to enter risky environments. 

Project Tango will improve location accuracy as the device will understand its position in space, including underground and indoors. This feature will support the use of Augmented Reality to ‘view’ infrastructure beneath the ground by superimposing a 3D graphic over the field worker’s view. This ’x-ray’ vision of underground infrastructure will aid operatives in maintenance, planning and surveying. GPS does not currently provide enough accuracy for Augmented Reality to be used for utility mapping. 

Andy Carter, Director of Business Process Improvement at MUS says: "Businesses that innovate have more efficient and effective work processes, enjoy greater business agility and deliver enhanced customer satisfaction. At Morrison Utility Services, we're continually looking for the latest innovations and how they can be applied to the utility industry and I'm delighted that we've got hold of the first Project Tango device; the absolute latest word in 3D scanning. The potential of Project Tango is exciting and the device will enable our developers to explore the full capability of depth and motion sensors on an android device. We're exploring a number of applications that will bring benefits to the organisations and customers of the utility industry."

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