Google's Pixel 4 will come with Project Soli but what is it?
Google Pixel 4 is expected to be launched in October this year. Project Soli is a chip that will enable hands-free gestures in Google’s upcoming smartphone.
Project Soli is a technology developed by Google. It will enable a hands-free gesture feature on the upcoming Google Pixel 4. Google Pixel 4 is expected to be launched in October this year. The company might introduce it on other devices as well, but Pixel is going to be the first device to come with the feature.
What is Project Soli?
Once you unlock your device, you won't need to use your fingers to navigate through the device. There are customised virtual gestures that mimic the motion of hand movements. For example, if you are listening to a song, just flipping your hand over the screen will change the song.
There are a few gestures that are directly inspired by real-life objects. If the user wants to increase the volume, the gesture would be similar to increasing volume on a physical device. You imitate rotating the volume knob as a gesture and the volume will increase. Similarly, turning the device off and on is related to tapping a button, and that gesture can also be executed on the devices with the Soli chip.
Google says that these real-life based gestures make it easy for users to communicate, learn, and remember Soli interactions.
But, Google has only released a teaser about a few of the gestures that can be seen in the video. Other features that will be available on the Pixel devices will be known only after the launch. But we can expect all the gestures mentioned above to be present on the device.
The Soli chip can be used on various devices including wearables, phones, computers, cars, and IoT devices.
Physically the soli chip has a dimension of 8mm x 10mm with no moving parts. It fits on a chip and consumes little energy as compared to its earlier prototypes tested by the company. Since it’s based on a radar system, the working of the chip is not affected by the amount of available light.
How does it work?
The sensor works by emitting electromagnetic waves. Once a user uses their hands to make some movements, part of the electromagnetic waves gets scattered and part of it is reflected back. This reflected back wave has some properties that are detected by the software and execute a task like increasing volume or changing a song.
The properties of the wave include the energy, time delay, and frequency shift. These properties provide a lot of information about the object (here, hand) like its dynamics, size, shape, orientation, material, distance, and velocity. All of these combine to form a gesture that is detected by the chip.