Back in 2015, Google first demoed Project Soli at Google I/O conference. Soli is a purpose-built interaction sensor that uses radar for motion tracking of the human hand. Think of Soli as a Kinect sensor that can track sub-millimeter motion at high speeds with great accuracy. Google has also created a gesture interaction language that will allow users to control devices with a simple, universal set of gestures. Check out the video above for a brief demo.
Since Soli works on radar frequency range which is not intended for consumer usage, Google asked FCC for waiver. Early this week, the FCC offered Google the waiver and it mentioned the following:
The ability to recognize users’ touchless hand gestures to control a device, such as a smartphone, could help people with mobility, speech, or tactile impairments,48 which in turn could lead to higher productivity and quality of life for many members of the American public. Such benefits can be achieved by maximizing the ability for Soli devices to meet its operational objectives, which we find necessitates higher power levels than the current rules allow. We thus find good cause exists for granting Google a waiver of section 15.255(c)(3).
The whole Soli chip can be packed in an ultra-compact 8mm x 10mm package, so it can be easily embedded in wearables, phones, computers, cars and IoT devices. I hope Google is ready to commercialize this technology really soon. Just imagine the possibilities.