We all know Google as the search engine giant, or the Big G as some like to call them. Most of us probably also know that they’re behind the Android mobile operating system, which dominates the market share of smartphones. Fewer still are aware that Google has some secret funky science projects going on under the radar (no pun intended, you’ll understand why later in this post…). For example, Google now owns Boston Dynamics, the company that created that robotic cheetah you probably saw on your Facebook feed a couple of years ago. And of course, a few years ago we were blown away by Google Glass, the awesome and simultaneously weird computer/eye glasses combo that puts a voice-capable computer right in front of your eye.
But what Google has planned next is absolutely insane and will blow you away yet again. It’s called Project Soli, a new interaction sensor that will basically allow you to interact with any device that’s fitted with the sensor without touching it at all. Imagine using gestures with your fingers in the air – without touching any screen – to get your videos to play, or to draw, or to increase the volume of the song that’s playing, or…well, you name it. Whatever it is, this sensor probably makes it possible. Check it out in action below.
Project Soli works using radio frequency technology to capture your finger motions at a frequency of 10,000 samples per second. At that rate, it can easily capture very fine hand gestures, and these hand gestures are part of what makes human hands so amazingly unique and functional. Think of all the things you can do with your fingers. The intro of the above video demonstrates some of these gestures in action. The device that captures these motions is the size of a small computer chip. This is important because it means it can fit into almost any device. If this project is successful, in the future you’ll be able to interact with your phone without ever touching the screen, or adjust your smart watch display without ever touching the watch. The possibilities are endless.
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