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Google's Project Soli replaces the keyboard and mouse with radar and logic

Very little has been done to truly replace the utility of the keyboard and mouse, but Project Soli is working to change that. The new Google project looks to combine machine intelligence with radar and similar technology to read hand signals and control the Internet of Things (IoT).

At Google I/O, representatives from ATAP, the Advanced Technology and Projects Group, demonstrated Project Soli. The goal of Project Soli is to solve the long-standing problem of providing input when keyboards, mice and even touch screens are inconvenient. With Project Soli, you move your hands and fingers in the air and a very small device detects and responds to familiar motions.

Rethinking the keyboard and mouse

You move your hands and fingers in the air and a very small device detects and responds to familiar motions

ATAP representative Ivan Poupyrev introduced a chip that’s small enough to fit into a wristwatch and uses radar to detect small hand motions. (Emitting radar signals with hardware this size is a significant technical challenge.) In an impressive demo, the chip sensed the nearness of a person’s hand, sensed hand rotations, and sensed when Popyrev rubbed his index finger against his thumb at different speeds. When combined with machine intelligence, the device controlled two different parts of a watch face, scrolling the hours display and the minutes display independently on demand. Poupyrev wowed the audience by playing a pong-like soccer game using only simple figure gestures – gestures made in the air near the Soli chip.

The ATAP group plans to release the Project Soli API to developers later this year.

 

What non-trivial applications do you envision for Project Soli? Let us know.

Follow Barry too: @allmycode

Books penned by Barry Burd:

Java For Dummies 
Android Application Development All-in-One For Dummies 
Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies 
Java Programming for Android Developers For Dummies

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