Project Soli from Google brings RADAR technology for gesture recognition in wearable devices

Published By: IndustryARC Published On : 29-Jul-2015

Gesture recognition is the mathematical interpretation of the human motion by an electronic device. The applications of gesture recognition are seen in wearable, smartphones, tablets, televisions and gaming devices.  Most of the modern gesture technology is 2D or 3D-based which works with the help of camera enabled device placed in front of an individual. Most of this technology is unreliable and the camera’s motion tracking abilities are ineffective and less accurate. The camera based gesture technology works poorly in low light conditions and when the camera quality is low. To avoid this problem Google introduced the new radar based gesture recognition technology.

Google’s Advanced technology and Projects Group (ATAP) is working on “Project Soli” that provides a type of motion controller that uses small radar which picks up the movements in real-time and uses these movements to alter the signals.  Project Soli’s gesture tracking radar detects objects in motion through high frequency radio waves that takes a fundamentally different approach to motion tracking. Soli’s sensors capture motion up to 10,000 frames per second and are more accurate than camera-based systems that track motion at much lesser frame rates. One major disadvantage that users had with camera based gesture technology are that in conditions of poor light and when obstacles are placed the cameras were not able to track the motion making the gesture recognition weak. These radars can pass through certain types of objects which make the technology more adaptable. The radar technology gives high accuracy that is not possible with camera.

During the product demonstration Ivan Poupyrev the project lead for Project Soli primarily talked about Project Soli in the context of smart watches. The applications of radar based gesture recognitions are not just limited to wearables. The radar technology uses a small chip that can be embedded in any type of device and be used for varied applications. ATAP plans to open Project Soli to developers so that they could work on this technology and build their own applications for gesture controls. The company hasn’t announced yet as to when they want to make this technology available. The success or failure of this project primarily depends on the developer response and the interest from hardware manufacturers. The technology when commercialized could revive the falling android wearables sales.


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