The Advanced Technologies and Products group within Google is the kind of place where the smartest people on the planet might want to make their careers, but ATAP won't let them. Instead, it follows Regina Dugan's DARPA model of innovation: tiny teams pick ridiculously ambitious goals and then try to achieve them in two years — and achieve them at a real, meaningful scale.

Three teams from ATAP presented their progress here at the Google I/O Developer conference. We saw Project Tango, which is making wild 3D-sensing, spatially-aware tablets. We also got an update on Project Ara, which is moving forward with modular smartphones. Finally, we saw a beautiful, touching video based on animations from Glen Keane, who has previously worked on many Disney films. Here, his work was translated into CGI for a short film called Duet, and it will later become an interactive story for the Moto X.