Disney artist Glen Keane – who created animated characters like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and the title characters for Aladdin and Pocahontas – appeared on stage at Google's I/O conference to show his latest creation.
Greg Keane has been working with Google's technical team to create an interactive animated film, dubbed Duet, for mobile platforms. Duet is scheduled to be released later this year.
You can watch his presentation and the film above. introduced by the session's host and the leader of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, Regina Dugan. The video is a live stream of the whole day's sessions with about an hour of nothing before anything happens – but we've hacked it so it starts with Regina's introduction when you press play.
Greg says that "I see myself as an artist first. Fortunately, everything I've animated has tested me in learning something new. In embracing this new technology, I feel like I've rediscovered a love for animation."
"One day we hope to have a new type of film festival... one that is mobile," said Regina.
Regina describes her group as "a small band of pirates" whose goal "is to close the gap between what could be and what is. No one comes to build a career in ATAP. You come to build something – to do your best work."
One of the things Dugan's team announced was that it plans to award $100,000 (around £60,000)to the developer who comes up with the best new use for a smartphone. The key is that the idea needs to be developed into a working technology.
It's not clear yet on the timetable for the challenge.
However, there is a new timeframe for the work coming out of Project Tango, the company's effort to create tablets and smartphones that are 3D-enabled.
Johnny Chung Lee, Google's Project Tango lead, said Google is teaming with LG Electronics to build a 3D tablet that is scheduled to go on sale sometime in 2015.
"We want to give devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion," Lee told the audience. "You, sitting in your seat, roughly understand the size of the room. That's remarkable, but we take it for granted every day... Using 3D sensors and cameras, we can give that sense of place to devices."
Johnny showed a tablet with a 4-megapixel camera, a motion-tracking camera and integrated depth sensors. He walked around the stage with the tablet to show how the device could create a 3D rendering of the space around him.
"We combine tracking data and sensing data and we can fuse that into an estimate of the device's position and environment," Lee said. "We can use 3D and get a sense of position without GPS."
Paul Eremenko, a roboticist and head of Google's Project Ara group, said his team is focused on asking what would be possible if we asked for more from our smartphones. Project Ara is working to develop a free, open hardware platform that can be used to create modular smartphones.
"What if we asked better questions of our phones? What if my phone could test to find out if my water is clean?" Eremenko said. "Why choose a phone for its camera when you could choose your camera for its phone?"
Paul's group is the one awarding $100,000 to the developer who comes up with the best new use for a smartphone.