SOLI – Sensing Your Gestures

The ultimate gesture sensing technology for human computer interaction is right here – SOLI . According to Ivan Poupyrev the project leader of SOLI , capturing the possibilities of human hand and applying it to the virtual world is something that has always fascinated him. This driving sense led to the creation of a mini sensor that can perceive micro-motion of our hand very precisely.

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Being one of the projects of Google ATAP ( Advanced Technology And Project Group), SOLI chip uses RADAR technology to detect slight hand gesture interactions . The entire chip which merely occupies 8 x 10 mm space can be embedded into our smart watches, IOT devices or even wireless speakers to interact with them wirelessly just by rubbing our fingers or twitches of our hands.

SOLI emits modulated electromagnetic waves in a broad beam. Objects within the range scatter this energy and reflect some portion back towards the radar antenna. By extracting subtle changes in the received signal over time such as energy, time delay, and frequency shift it captures information regarding object’s  size, shape, orientation, material, distance, and velocity. The gesture recognition pipeline built by the team enables them to seize enough data from one radar signal, various stages of this pipeline extract specific gesture information from the signal at a high frame rate.

Project SOLI was announced at Google I/O back in the year 2015 but it was not approved by the FCC ( Federal Communications Commission ) until December 31st, 2018 because SOLI opeartes at a higher frequency ( 57 – 64 GHz) than permitted by the U.S regulatory agency. Initially even Facebook protested towards this problem claiming that SOLI would interrupt with existing technologies because of its high bandwidth requirement but the two companies compromised after they held a meeting. FCC noted that SOLI poses minimal potential for causing harmful interference and also granted permit for certification and marketing with usage in aircraft also allowed.

In the upcoming days we will find SOLI being used in smartwatches and wireless speakers . The full potential of this technology is still unknown and it has a huge scope in the electronic industry.

 

 

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