Project Soli: Next-Gen Gesture Sensing Technology from Google

With Project Soli, Google has developed a new gesture-tracking technology which could potentially revolutionize the way we interact with everyday devices.

Instead of a physical button, gamepad, or touchscreen, the radar-enabled chip that Google has developed allows simple hand movements to control anything from a smartphone to a games console.

How does the Project Soli system work?

The chip

The 5×5 mm silicon radar chip is a new type of interaction sensor, which runs at 60 GHz and is capable of capturing motions of our fingers at resolutions and speeds that haven’t been possible before—up to 10,000 frames per second.

The radio waves

Project Soli has reduced the size of radio frequency sensors traditionally used in the likes of submarines and satellites, making it small enough to be used in everyday devices. The chip works by transmitting a radio wave towards the user of a device, which then bounces off their hands and back to the device. Unlike cameras, which are often used in other motion sensing technology, radar has extremely high, 3D positional accuracy that can capture sub-millimeter motions.

Hand gestures

By using certain hand gestures—turning, pressing, sliding, etc.—Project Soli enables us to control devices. This includes turning a switch or dial, navigating a map, and browsing on a touchscreen. Even pressing our two fingers together could represent pressing a button to turn a device on or off.