What is Project Soli ?
- Soli is one of the projects of Google ATAP(Advanced Technology And Project group).
- This project is headed by Ivan Poupyrev.
- Soli was officially announced at Google I/O 2015.
Soli is a new sensing technology that uses miniature radar to detect touchless gesture interactions. Soli uses tiny radar units to detect gesture input where other forms of input, like a touchscreen, might be impractical or impossible. Google demoed the tech using a smartwatch, for instance, but it could also work for building gesture interaction into otherwise solid objects like a desk, for instance.
Project Soli involves a millimeter-wave radar chip that can detect “very fine” gestures with fingers and hands. It can then be used for playing games using hand gestures on mobile devices, computers, and electronics.
The Soli chip incorporates the entire sensor and antenna array into an ultra-compact 8mm x 10mm package.
How Soli Works ?
- The principle behind Soli is RADAR(Radio Detection and Ranging).
- Radar is an object-detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects.
- A modulated electromagnetic wave is emitted toward a moving target that scatters the transmitted radiation, with some portion of energy redirected back toward the radar where it is intercepted by the receiving antenna.
- The time delay, phase or frequency shift, and amplitude attenuation capture rich information about the target’s properties, such as distance, velocity, size, shape, surface smoothness, material and orientation.
- Instead of static shapes, the key to Soli interaction is motion, range and velocity, where the sensor can accurately detect and track components of complex motions caused by a user hand moving and gesturing within sensing field.
Virtual Tool Gestures
Imagine an invisible button between your thumb and index fingers – you can press it by tapping your fingers together. Or a Virtual Dial that you turn by rubbing thumb against index finger. Imagine grabbing and pulling a Virtual Slider in thin air. These are the kinds of interactions we are developing and imagining.
Even though these controls are virtual, the interactions feel physical and responsive.
Feedback is generated by the haptic sensation of fingers touching each other. Without the constraints of physical controls, these virtual tools can take on the fluidity and precision of our natural human hand motion.
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The Soli sensor is a fully integrated, low-power radar operating in the 60-GHz ISM band. In our journey toward this form factor, we rapidly iterated through several hardware prototypes, beginning with a large bench-top unit built from off-the-shelf components — including multiple cooling fans. Over the course of 10 months, we redesigned and rebuilt the entire radar system into a single solid-state component that can be easily integrated into small, mobile consumer devices and produced at scale.
Google’s ATAP(Advanced Technology and Project) Researchers are going to work on fixing any confusion around identifying similar objects, and the second problem is fixed easily enough by building a comprehensive reference database software can poll to get matching IDs for known objects. Such a resource could grow quickly with a decent volume of use – something that would happen pretty quickly if Soli were integrated into future Android smartphones or wearables, for instance.