Once again, Google impresses us with its world-changing research efforts. The company’s Project Soli, which has been developed at Google’s secretive Advanced Technology and Projects lab in San Francisco, will allow you to interact with gadgets by simple gestures in air.
You may ask, so what is new about controlling your gadgets with hand gestures? For we already have Xbox Kinect, PlayStation Move and of course, JARVIS. What makes Soli unique is that the system can identify subtle finger movements using radar built into tiny microchips.
According to lead researcher Ivan Poupyrev, the team’s breakthrough will be a game changer.
Most sensors are camera-based, such as Kinect and Move. They act only when they capture gestures and require additional hardware. Soli’s microchips can be embedded into anything – from TVs to wearables, and this is the game-changing quality that Poupyrev refers to.
“Using a tiny, microchip-based radar to track hand movements we can now track the minutest movements and twitches of the human hand to interact with computers and wearable devices,” says Poupyrev.
The team has managed to overcome its biggest challenge: to fit a shoe-box sized radar on a tiny microchip. The team worked with German chipmaker Infineon for 10 months, finding new ways to shrink the radar’s components. Now, the chips are ready for mass-production.
‘Soli can pick up hand movements as far as a metre away as in Minority Report. But in reality this is too tiring,’ Poupyrev says. ‘Until now, we lacked the fidelity to capture hand movements in sufficient detail. But now using radar, for the first time in history you can build Minority Report type interfaces.’
Poupyrev recently demonstrated Project Soli in front of developers in California. The project’s open source technology will be handed over to developers later this year.
Google deserves credit for envisioning this project. The company has always pushed the boundaries of knowledge. They need to be appreciated for taking on resource intensive projects without compromising with their quarterly results.
Watch the video below to help understand the project better: