On new years eve, Google gained the approval of the FCC to continue working on their small project from 2015, Project Soli. Project Soli aims to allow the control of smart devices using hand gestures, without touching the screen.
When the project was first announced, it was found that the radar was not accurately picking up all hand gestures. Because of this, users were only able to do a very limited number of gestures to control a smartwatch. Google said that these problems were due to the low power level of radar technology. The lower power levels were required due to restrictions the FCC has in place.
However, in March 2018, Google asked the FCC to allow them and their device operate at higher power levels. Facebook was at first against this decision say that giving Google higher radar levels could mess with existing technology. After some discussion between the two companies, they came to an agreement. Google agreed to use lower power levels than what they initially asked for and Facebook backed down their opposing waiver.
A few days ago, the FCC decided to grant Google the waiver after they had determined that the increased levels of power would have little potential to cause harm. The FCC approval means that Google is able to move forward with Project Soil.
The gesture-based technology could be incredibly powerful for smaller displays or devices that do not have displays, such as Bluetooth speakers.
Personal thoughts on Project Soli:
I’m really excited about this kind of technology. I think that this will revolutionize how we interact with things like smart-speakers and smart-watches. Not only this, but I could see this being a great solution for people with disabilities that prevent them from accurately using touch-screens. I’m very much looking forward to what Google is creating here.