More and more it seems like we are living in a science fiction movie. The latest example of that is Google’s project Soli. It’s made within Advanced Technology and Projects group, and it’s basic idea is relatively simple: remote control without a remote controller. They are putting control in your hands, or more precisely, fingers. They aim to replace traditional control of electronic devices with motion control, where your fingers simulate the motion of turning volume, pressing buttons etc, without actually touching any input devices like keyboard or touch screen. The hand gestures are, according to the developers, more intuitive and easier to use. All with just one tiny chip.
The technology that makes this possible is radar. Gesture based controllers are not really a novelty, but they have been relying on cameras for motion tracking. Radar works differently, it detects motion through high frequency radio waves. Soli’s sensors, which work using the radar, are capable of capturing motion at up to 10,000 frames per second. That’s much more accurate than cameras, and the radar can pass through some type of objects, unlike camera, adding to it’s efficiency.
Project Soli’s focus was for smartwatches at first, but limiting this technology to them would be a mistake. Think of a radio where you can change the station and turn up/down the volume with hand gestures. Or a smartphone notification which you can dismiss with a single hand motion. Try to imagine gesture interfaces on everyday objects. It’s like being a wizard or a theremin player. Project Soli is still in it’s infancy, but if it reaches ordinary people, gadget freaks, there is an enormous adaptive possibility.