Project Soli – Technology at your fingertips

Google has always been a frontrunner in developing cutting edge technology. With ventures like Google Glass and the self-driving car coming out of their Google X program, they are no longer just a software giant. With their latest offering, the days where you use touch to get things done on your electronic device may be numbered.  Project Soli as they call it aims at using the finger movements as gestures to control your devices.

Ivan Poupyrev, the founder of this project explains that the fine accurate movements which are done by the human hands were the inspiration behind the idea. Our fingers are capable mimicking of gestures like the click of a button, scrolling the screen or turning the knob. Soli aims at capturing such gestures to control your electronic devices without you even toughing them.

At the heart of Soli is a chip hardly the size of a penny. This chip encompasses RADAR that uses sound waves to track hand movements. It fires a radio wave at the target and listens to the response and maps it to a particular gesture. The chip has an intelligent and well developed pipeline which looks for specific finger movements, thus ignoring any unwanted movement.  The engineers of Soli claim to have identified some of the basic types of motions like pushing across a slider on your image editing software, turning a knob on your radio or clicking of a button on your camera without the hardware having to be physically present. What’s best about RADAR is its ability to interact and capture human intent, act as communicator between the user and the hardware with no moving parts and a compact form factor.

This project surely opens up a new dimension to the electronic devices out there today. Imagine scrolling through your gallery, navigating a map on your smartphone, increase the volume of the song playing on your music player and better, changing channels on your television – all with a gentle gesture of your hand. Minimizing physical interactions with the hardware not only reduces the wear and tear but also increase the battery life. The best thing about this exciting technology is its compact size and its ability to detect your gestures even when behind a metal frame or glass.

With exciting new possibilities which this project can unlock, we have to wait and see which manufacturers incorporate this into their products.

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