Last night, Google announced Project Tango, a project in which new protoytpe mobile devices use real-time motion sensors to map 3D models of their surroundings. The prototypes are five-inch phones running on Android and including development APIs that provide position and orientation data. If you're wondering what one might do with such a thing, Google has a lot of ideas already, which they spell out on Project Tango's announcement page. For example:
What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually-impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?
They're planning to distribute dev kits by March 14th, so we could see some results from this pretty soon, and if your company has a good pitch, you might be able to get one. You can also see some in action in Google's announcement video: