Monday, June 01, 2015

Google's Ivan Poupyrev demoes finger gesture technology using RADAR

Google's Advanced Technologies and Projects(ATAP) Lab is always trying out new technologies, many of which are pet projects of some geniuses. Many of them do not see the light of day, but some of them are so awesome that you wonder which part is real and which is fiction.

Ivan Poupyrev is working on a project called Soli. It is a gesture tracking mechanism using radar to work as an input device for our newer gadgets and wearables. In one demo, Ivan  kicked a virtual soccer ball by flicking at the screen. In another, he set the hours on a clock by turning an imaginary dial with his fingers, and then changing the minutes by raising his hands further away from the screen and doing the same gesture again.

Soli working on a smartwatch

This technology seems to be able to pick up small gestures made with fingers with considerable accuracy. They are working to miniaturize it to the size of a chip that can be embedded into the gadget that needs it. Soon, smartwatches would star coming with this tech.

How is it different from camera based gesture tech like on some Samsung smartphones or from Microsoft Kinect ?

This radar based technology does not need to see your fingers in its direct vision like a camera based tech like Kinect does. It can see through a piece of paper. It can see your fingers make a scrolling movement even if the fingers are covered in the palm of your hand. It is RADAR. It can see through stuff !

Imagine Google Glasses with this technology. Or even a Moto 360, Sony Smart Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Gear. Very soon, Apple would also copy the technology and name it something nice, making it a runaway success. Apple's iRing should work on this.

PhoneArena had a first hand look at the Soli device at Google I/O today. Let's see what they say.

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