Looks like Google is jumping into the 3-D race now. A new prototype phone that’s quietly been in development there can scan and track its surroundings in real time. Such a phone could help the visually impaired with navigation and open up new options for interactive gaming.

Google’s Project Tango now has a phone prototype with software and hardware designed to allow it to track its motion in 3-D, in real time, as it’s being held. The phone’s sensors make a quarter million 3-D measurements every second to generate a model of the environment, according to this Google video.

Web-Connect To Everything You Own: Photos

“Imagine that you scan a small section of your living room and then are able to generate a little game world in it,” Chase Cobb of Paracosm, a software company collaborating on the phone with Google, said in the video. “I don’t know of any other controller or gaming device that can do that at the moment.”

Well, I do. As BuzzFeed’s John Herman observed, this phone would be like having a Microsoft Kinect in your pocket. And Microsoft has been working on that. Meanwhile Google says it’s going to be sending kits to software developers over the next few months so they can build apps and algorithms that work with the new platform.

Wish Granted: Here’s Your Portable Holodeck

Google envisions the 3-D device having numerous applications, including using it to scan a piece of furniture and then see how that would look in another room. Maybe they’ll get it to print snacks, too.

Photo: Google’s prototype 3-D phone in action. Credit: Google ATAP via YouTube (video).