Project Tango Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

It's 2014, and the future is now. Google's engineers have been hard at work bringing the virtual to reality with projects like Google Glass, and their newest 3D mapping tech, Project Tango. We got our hands on one of the Tango's prototype development kits, and we can't wait to bust it open. Join us for a little Tango Delta (that's 'Teardown' for those who don't know their phonetic alphabets) of this camera-studded developer phone.

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Edit Step 1 Project Tango Teardown  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Snapdragon 800 quad core (up to 2.3 GHz per core) CPU with 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM

Edit Step 1 Project Tango Teardown  ¶ 

  • Project Tango is basically a camera and sensor array that happens to run on an Android phone. Google didn't share many specs beyond the camera array, but we dug up a little more:

    • Snapdragon 800 quad core (up to 2.3 GHz per core) CPU with 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM

    • 64 GB internal storage, expandable by microSD

    • 5" LCD screen

    • 9-axis accelerometer/gyroscope/compass

    • And of course, the depth-sensing array: an infrared projector, 4 MP rear-facing RGB/IR camera and 180º field of view fisheye rear-facing camera

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Tango features several ports, all free of those annoying plastic doors:

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • While Google may have its head in the Cloud, they've made sure to allow for hardware connectivity.

  • Tango features several ports, all free of those annoying plastic doors:

    • Micro HDMI

    • Micro-USB

    • USB 3.0

  • And a way for you to emotionally connect, a microphone grille. Awww.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Cover off, battery out. Simple. Tango's development brainpower went into what's inside the phone, not into fancy [guide|10525|chamfered edges|stepid=38241] or [guide|23615|curved metal unibody enclosures|stepid=61139].

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • A thumbnail is the only tool you need to pop off Tango's rear cover and access the battery. (Well, a thumb would probably be pretty useful, too).

  • Cover off, battery out. Simple. Tango's development brainpower went into what's inside the phone, not into fancy chamfered edges or curved metal unibody enclosures.

  • Tango bears a hefty 3000 mAh battery, ready for developers to take it to the limit.

    • 3000 mAh may be big for a smartphone, but if it weren't for the ultra low power requirements of the vision coprocessor powering Tango's 3D imaging, it'd have to be a lot bigger.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image 1/3: But more importantly, affords quick access to the SIM and microSD slots.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Removing the battery gives us an immediate view of the motherboard.

  • But more importantly, affords quick access to the SIM and microSD slots.

    • While this construction means a couple extra steps to eject the cards, it also means fewer moving parts, and an eject mechanism that can never fail.

  • The turn of a screw, and pry of an opening tool and the motherlode motherboard is fully revealed.

  • Not a lick of adhesive in sight—just a loudspeaker with pressure contacts nestled snugly into the midframe.

    • The midframe, manufactured by Kuang Fa Plating Co, also houses a few integrated antennas, likewise connected via handy, cable-free spring contacts.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Tango's sole purpose in life is to bring an exciting technology that's thus-far been limited to [guide|19725|game consoles] and [http://www.cnet.com/news/man-with-a-vision-movidius-ceo-talks-project-tango-q-a/|Mars rovers|new_window=true] to a mobile platform.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • A few connectors to disconnect, some stickies to de-stick, and the motherboard is free.

  • Tango's sole purpose in life is to bring an exciting technology that's thus-far been limited to game consoles and Mars rovers to a mobile platform.

  • As such, it doesn't waste time with flashy looks or a slim body. It just packs its tech into a box in the simplest way possible. This is by far one of the easiest to disassemble phones we've encountered, giving the Fairphone a run for its money (or, ideally, some repairability pointers).

  • The 5" display assembly wears a Synaptics S3202 ClearPad 3 series touchscreen controller.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

Image 1/3: The [http://randomplayall.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/croatoan.jpg|mysterious markings|new_window=true] on this ultra new, and ultra custom device continue to elude us. Our searches find nothing useful.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • We pluck the earpiece speaker from the light adhesive keeping it in touch with its pressure contacts.

    • The mysterious markings on this ultra new, and ultra custom device continue to elude us. Our searches find nothing useful.

  • Next on the plate, two delicious cameras, 'SUNNY' side up.

  • The selfie-cam has a 120º field of vision (FOV), which is akin to the (depth perceiving) field of view of the human eye.

  • Tango's 'standard' cellphone camera is a 4 MP OmniVision double-whammy RGB and Infrared sensor that allows for high-res photo and video, as well as depth perception.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

Image 1/2: The fisheye lens enables a 180º FOV, while the sensor balances resolution and frames per second to record black and white images for motion tracking.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Another one bites the dust. Or the lure. This fisheye lens caps a low-power OmniVision CameraChip.

  • The fisheye lens enables a 180º FOV, while the sensor balances resolution and frames per second to record black and white images for motion tracking.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

Image 1/3: ...And it looks like we've found our culprit, an infrared projector. Deep inside this tiny glass-topped box lives a series of infrared LEDs, powered by some hefty leads (for a smartphone).

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • A huge chunk of copper provides electrical grounding and thermal dissipation for the lower sensor array. Something must get pretty warm down here...

  • ...And it looks like we've found our culprit, an infrared projector. Deep inside this tiny glass-topped box lives a series of infrared LEDs, powered by some hefty leads (for a smartphone).

3 Edit Step 9 Science with iFixit!  ¶ 

Image 1/3: A little gentle power applied, a [http://ifixit.org/blog/5684/our-first-look-at-the-xbox-one-kinect-ir-field/|home-hacked IR camera|new_window=true], and presto! Shiny dots on the photo room wall!

3 Edit Step 9 Science with iFixit!  ¶ 

  • Google didn't want us turning on our unit, so we had to figure out our own way to power up the IR projector.

  • The bright grid of dots shows that Tango works similarly to the original Microsoft Kinect, with a grid of dots to be captured by the IR sensors of the 4 MP camera, building a depth map.

2 Edit Step 10  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Elpida [http://www.micron.com/parts/dram/mobile-ddr3-sdram/edfa164a1pb-gd-f?pc=|FA164A1PB|new_window=true] 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM, layered above a Qualcomm [http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/processors/800|8974] (Snapdragon 800) processor

2 Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • What's cooking in Tango?

    • Elpida FA164A1PB 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM, layered above a Qualcomm 8974 (Snapdragon 800) processor

    • Two Movidius Myriad 1 computer vision co-processors.

    • Two AMIC A25L016 16 Mbit low voltage serial flash memory ICs

    • InvenSense MPU-9150 9-axis gyroscope/accelerometer/compass MEMS motion tracking device

    • Skyworks 77629 multimode multiband power amplifier module for quad-band GSM/EDGE

    • PrimeSense PSX1200 Capri PS1200 3D sensor SoC

1 Edit Step 11  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Bosch Sensortec BMP180 pressure sensor

1 Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • The back of the board includes:

    • Bosch Sensortec BMP180 pressure sensor

    • SanDisk SDIN7DP4-64G 64 GB iNAND flash memory

    • Bosch BMX055 IMU

    • Qualcomm PM8941 Power Management IC

    • Qualcomm PM8841 Power Management IC

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

Image 1/1: This appears to be PrimeSense's new [http://www.primesense.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/PrimeSenses_3DsensorsWeb.pdf|Capri PS1200 SoC|new_window=true] 3D imaging chip, unexpected for a couple of reasons:

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Whoa, hold your horses, what's this? We found some unexpected new tech in Tango.

  • This appears to be PrimeSense's new Capri PS1200 SoC 3D imaging chip, unexpected for a couple of reasons:

    • Just last year, Apple bought PrimeSense, manufacturer of the Kinect's 3D vision hardware. Speculators assumed we would be seeing this hot new hardware in an upcoming iOS device, with intent of mapping 3D spaces. Looks like Tango beat Apple to the punch with their own tech?

    • Also interesting, Movidius has been getting plenty of time in the spotlight lately, as the ultra-low-power successor to PrimeSense's 3D throne, finally a solution for mobile devices. So what's PrimeSense doing here, alongside Movidius?

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Project Tango Repairability Score: '''9 out of 10''' (10 is easiest to repair).

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • While this top-secret prototype is hardly a consumer device, we're happy to give it a Repairability Score, especially since it may serve as an example of how simple a smartphone's construction can be.

  • Project Tango Repairability Score: 9 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • The battery can be replaced in seconds with no tools.

    • Seven screws hold the entire device together.

    • Several modular components can be replaced independently: speakers, cameras (all three!), IR projector, and display assembly.

    • A few components remain soldered onto the motherboard, increasing replacement difficulty. These include the vibrator motor and USB ports.

12 Comments

"How do you build the depth map? It certainly looks to us like nearer dots are smaller, and farther dots are more expanded. Measure the size of the dot, and you've got its distance from the projector."

This doesn't make sense, since from the point of view of the camera, the dots will appear the same size (perspective).

james7780 - Reply

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binocular_d...

If you have two images of the same subject from two vantage points you can calculate roughly the depth of the image. In this case it's slightly different since once of the "cameras" is actually a projector. So one viewpoint has a "perfect" image since it has the pattern hardcoded into its frame. You just need a camera then to record the projected image and extract a disparity map between the two. From that you can determine depth.

Gavin Greenwalt -

Project Tango is a nice idea, but needing a different device is a limiting factor for mass adoption. LazeeEye empowers existing smartphones to capture 3D images by using a laser illuminator hardware add-on and a stereo vision processing app. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/332...

LazeeEye - Reply

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Steve think super - Reply

Remember not to stare into the IR sensor for so long... All those dots go right to your head. :)

galleno64 -

Hi guys,

Thanks for this helpful post.

There is a LED beside the standard camera, but it is not possible to use it. You can't either somehow access the flash light or take a normal picture with flash light on. Do you guys have any idea how to possibly use the flash light? Is there a way to turn it on?

raysabzevari - Reply

Doubt they're using the dot size to measure distance. This looks quite similar to the primesense technology in the original Kinect. Basically, the theprocessing engine has the same dot pattern stored as an array of coordinates. The algorithm cross-correlates groups of dots from the captured image of the projected dots with the pattern stored. Since the pattern is pseudo-random, each group of dots will have a unique fingerprint. Depth/distance is then calculated from the deviation in position of each dot in the sub-group related to its position in the stored pattern.

IraqiGeek - Reply

To add a bit, consider a scanner that projects a line onto an object and records that with an offset camera. Imagine that the projector is on the left, the camera is on the right (both pointing away), while the line is projected up and down. In this case, the shift of the line to the left or right directly corresponds to how far away it is from the scanner. Where the line projects onto something close, it is shifted to the left, and where it projects onto something far, it is shifted to the right. This setup works great, except that it only gives you one stripe's worth of data. You need to scan it across a scene to get the whole picture.

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This setup is doing the exact same thing, except instead of projecting a line, it is projecting a dot pattern. By measuring the displacement of each dot, it can figure out how far away it is from the camera. The dots are arranged in a special pattern so that the logic can tell one from another. Since the dots cover the whole scene, you don't have to scan it.

CityZ -

Thanks for the heads-up, guys. We realized the error of our ways shortly after the teardown went live, so we updated the step :)

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

The blue one in step 10 is Skyworks PA not Winbond W25Q16CV 16 Mbit SPI flash

terppak - Reply

There is another 9-axis IMU, the Bosch Sensortec BMX055. It's in the second picture under the "R".

marcellinogemel - Reply

There's also the Bosch Sensortec BMP180 pressure sensor for altitude detection. It's the metal package with the hole sitting on its own in the top left quadrant.

marcellinogemel - Reply