Google’s Radar-based Gesture Tracking Project for Wearables Unveiled at I/O 2016

Published Date : May 23, 2016

The annual developer conference by Google witnessed some major announcements from the search engine giant. Among the huge developments announced by the company on the three day extravaganza were Daydream VR ecosystem, Allo and Duo, Google Assistant, Android Auto, Android N improvements, Android app support on Chrome OS, Google Home, and Android TV. The company, however, saved the best for last with the revealing of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) at I/O 2016. Improvements to ATAP’s Project Soli, its gesture tracking technology, and Project Jacquard – the touch sensitive fabric technology took the stage on the last day of the conference. 

Major Improvements to Project Soli Revealed 

At last year’s I/O conference, Google had given a brief account of Project Soli even though no additional announcements were made about the project after that. The new Soli chip unveiled by the company incorporates the antenna and sensor array into an 8mm by 10mm ultra compact package. Some of the key improvements revealed by Director of Google’s ATAP team, Dan Kaufman, include decreased energy consumption, one that reports an estimated 5 per cent improvement compared to the original chip. A reduction in computational power is also a notable feature of the new Soli chip. Improvements such as these have rendered the Soli chip usable in several consumer products. The company has, however, not revealed the launch timeline for the new Soli chip.

Google’s Soli Chip in LG Smartwatch Reviewed 

At the I/O conference this year, Google exhibited the use of the Soli chip in an LG Watch Urbane – a smart watch that works entirely on gestures and can follow even the smallest of movements such as that of waving fingers. Technical program lead at the ATAP team at Google, Ivan Poupyrev, previewed a few of the virtual tool gestures. For instance, in order to interact with the smartwatch, users will be required to maintain a certain distance and use their hands. This will enable them to browse through messages.