What’s next after the touchscreen? Some might say voice commands, but others, like Google, may be heading in another direction.
To be fair, Google is giving a lot of attention to voice commands, especially with Google Assistant. But this is a company that is always looking ahead. Reuters is reporting this week that Google has landed approval in the United States for its “Project Soli”. Specifically, the FCC has green-lit Google’s ability to use more powerful sensors than what’s currently allowed, and Project Soli can also be used on aircraft as well.
Per the FCC:
“We find that the Soli sensors, when operating under the waiver conditions specified herein, pose minimal potential of causing harmful interference to other spectrum users and uses of the 57-64 GHz frequency band, including for the earth exploration satellite service (EESS) and the radio astronomy service (RAS),” the FCC wrote in its order. “We further find that grant of the waiver will serve the public interest by providing for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture technology.”
Google’s project, which is a radar-based motion sensing technology, was first introduced back in 2015 and is part of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) group. It’s a system that works in conjunction with electromagnetic and miniature radar waves to track a gesture. This means you can use a specific hand movement to control software on a device without actually touching it.
This is an important next step for Google and its Project Soli. It’s been several years in the making, but if Google has managed to get these “restrictions” lifted then maybe the company is a bit closer to showing all of us something that’s ready for the real world.