The new device is planned as part of Project Tango / Julian Sullivan/Getty

Sources have said the company is set to produce prototype devices capable of mapping their environment in 3D

Google is developing a tablet capable of capturing 3D images, according to reports.

Inside sources told the Wall Street Journal that the company plans to produce about 4,000 of the prototype tablets starting next month.

The new device would have a 7-inch screen, as well as two back cameras, infrared depth sensors and advanced software capable of taking three-dimensional images of objects.

The tablet is part of Project Tango and could be released before Google’s annual developer conference at the end of June, the sources said.

Project Tango aims to give mobile devices “a human-scale understanding of space and motion”. In February Google released a prototype smartphone, which is equipped with sensors that allow the device to build a detailed 3D map of its environment.

The company said the feature could be used to create more realistic videogames, to help people find their way around a shop, or to assist the visually impaired in navigating an unknown area. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google prefers to let developers experiment with new technologies before introducing them into consumer products. 

By contrast, rival Apple tends to develop new technologies in secret before launching products on the consumer market.