Google’s Radar-Based Wearable: One 'Handy' User Interface

Google is a firm believer in the fact that wearable tech products are becoming more and more appealing to mainstream America and the world at large. Advances in technology are quickly closing the gap between the every day lives of consumers and their many devices. The company's private crystal ball forecasts that advanced devices that make life easier will become the norm in the near future. Of late, the search engine giant is paying particular attention to hand movements and their potential to interact with devices.


Project Soli: Source: ThenextwebProject Soli: Source: Thenextweb


Project Soli

Project Soli focuses on the fact that the ability to function is not always the job of the device but rather the movements of the user, specifically, hands and fingers. In order to transform human hands and fingers into a usable interface, Project Soli relies on a super-tiny chip with radar-like capabilities that can detect the slightest of movements. It can fit into so many things like a smart-warch for example, where it picks up movements in real time and alters its signals accordingly.


Project Soli at Work: Source: KnowtechyProject Soli at Work: Source: Knowtechy


In the words of Ivan Poupyrev, technical program lead for Google's Advanced Technology and Projects  (ATAP) division: "Radar has been used for many things– to track cars, satellites and planes. We're using it to track micro motions, twitches of human hands, and use that to interact with wearables and other computing devices."

How does Project Soli work?

Even when it seems the hand is not moving, it is still slightly in motion, which becomes a baseline response on the very sensitive radar. Both the signal and its range are altered whenever the hand moves away from or side-to-side in relation to the radar. A simple gesture of making a fist or crossing fingers changes the signal as well. The signal must then be understood to any app or service, which Google achieves via ATAP which provides application program interfaces (APIs); a set of routines and protocols for building software applications that tap into Project Soli's learning capacity.


Google's Project Solis Icon: Source: latestupdatesinGoogle's Project Solis Icon: Source: latestupdatesin


Project Soli allows for use of a system with a very high range of frequency, namely your fingers. Interactions can be greatly enriched via ATAP's ability to provide a larger surface area utilizing touch-sensitive fabric. If working correctly, the "vocabulary" of movements must be addressed. This could amount to a sliding thumb against a finger to scroll, tapping fingers together to select and flicking them to close.

The future of Project Soli

It's still too early to predict public acceptance of this amazing project but Google boldly forecasts that clamor for these special products will soon become widespread. The human hand becoming the new and only user interface is an innovative concept that makes voice control almost passé. The public is fickle in its thirst for new and exciting wearable tech products and ideas whose time has come wait for no one.

 Closing thoughts on technology:

The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to...learn things they didn't think they could learn  before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. ~ Steve Ballmer


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